Archive for September, 2009

September 18th, 2009 - 6:55 am § in etymology, mysteries of english, old english, vocabulary, words of the day

Words of the Day (9/18)

Every Friday I post a few of my favorite etymologies and vocab words. Check out all my Words of the Day posts HERE. Etymologies: Avocado: (noun. A pear-shaped fruit with a rough leathery skin, smooth oily flesh, and a large stone.) The Aztecs first called this fruit the ahucatl (testicle). It was c[...]

September 17th, 2009 - 10:19 am § in language evolution, old english

Language Transformation

People evolve. Technology evolves. Art evolves. And language certainly evolves. This is a tricky topic. There are pundits who criticize speech as being riddled with “errors” and “incorrect grammar”. I’m often one of them. We say people are lazy or uneducated if they can[...]

September 16th, 2009 - 12:22 pm § in language learning

Why is English so popular?

Why do so many people learn English as a second language? Is it easy? No. English is one of the most complex languages to learn. It’s not a very logical language. Our spelling system is crazy and so is our (very irregular) grammar. It’s not considered the most beautiful language, either.[...]

September 15th, 2009 - 12:21 pm § in etymology, names, word formation, word origins

Our Personal Names

We all feel very attached to and protective of our names. I hate it when someone misspells or mispronounces mine. It’s MY name! And I’ve been called by that name (and various nicknames) for 23 years exactly (it’s my birthday). In English we usually have 3 names – the first na[...]

September 14th, 2009 - 12:08 pm § in eponyms, etymology, word formation, word origins

Eponymous Words

Eponymous means named after a particular person. For example, the Harry Potter series and Reaganomics are both eponyms. This is another way that words are added to a language. Eponyms are actually all over our language. Did you know the Pavlova (a meringue dessert) was named after the Russian baller[...]