Watched The Celtic World by Jennifer Paxton from The Teaching Company, LLC.
Lecture 10: Celtic Britain after Rome
North and west of what today is England, where the Romans held far less influence, a paradoxical era of both peaceful immigration and rebellion added to the melting pot of Britain in the first millennium A.D. Discover Cornwall, Wales, and parts of Scotland with a quick appearance of one of Britain's noblest legends: King Arthur.
42% done
Assimilation of Germanic peoples in Britain in 5c.
Breedon on the hill translates to hill hill on the hill
By Tre, Pol, and Pen you shall know the Cornishmen
Discussion of disappearance of British and other languages in place of a growing English dominance. Resurgence of Cornish.
Liked a tweet by Daphne K. Lee (Twitter)
 
Read The Horniest Emoji, Ranked by How Horny They Are (Cosmopolitan)
While sexting, video-sexing, and Zoom dating are all well and good, sometimes you wanna inject some flirtiness into your everyday text banter without having to get camera-ready, ya feel? Enter the humble emoji. While they’ve always been great for zuzzhing up your convos, we must call upon them now more than ever to communicate our horniness from afar.
Replied to a post by rnv rnv (micro.blog)

@richnewman My concern is that simply avoiding a word will not banish the thought of it or its reality. To believe so is to engage in magical thinking — the likes of which are lampooned in the movie Beetlejuice, where speaking a name summons the person. There is no banishment, only suppression, and if you drive a thing underground, you can’t be sure where or how or when it will erupt again. Except you can be sure it will.

(That said, I took a quick glance at the etymology of “master” and, even though the word’s provenance predates specifically race-based slavery by maybe four or five hundred years, the idea of domination and subjugation seems to be pretty well baked into its definition, so... yes: tainted and probematic. I guess this can be another reason why I can be glad I never got a Masters degree?) //@bruce @simonwoods @johnphilpin

@rnv I seem to recall master having an etymology that went through old French and then back to classical Latin magister which means master in the sense of “teacher”. However after over 2,000 years, it’s going to shift, twist, and even break in its meanings over time. I’d be willing to bet there are easily 5-10 different definitions and shades of meaning on the word now (some even archaic), but some of which are  now problematic in how they relate to power dynamics in society. 

Of course if you want to really go crazy on historical linguistics, I recently ran across an etymology for the word Lord which was totally not what I was expecting but which is historically fascinating. 

 

Watched The Orchestra in My Mouth by Tom Thumb from TEDxSydney

In a highly entertaining performance, beatboxer Tom Thum slings beats, comedy and a mouthful of instrumental impersonations into 11 minutes of creativity and fun that will make you smile.

This talk was presented to a local audience at TEDxSydney, an independent event. TED's editors chose to feature it for you.

Pretty cool to see a internal view of a beatboxer with a laryngoscope through the nose.
Bookmarked Britney Spears spelling correction (archive.google.com)
The data below shows some of the misspellings detected by our spelling correction system for the query [ britney spears ], and the count of how many different users spelled her name that way. Each of these variations was entered by at least two different unique users within a three month period, and was corrected to [ britney spears ] by our spelling correction system (data for the correctly spelled query is shown for comparison).
There’s potentially some interesting corpus linguistics implied in some of this data.

hat tip: Kevin Marks

Read Dord (Wikipedia)
The word dord is a dictionary error in lexicography. It was accidentally created, as a ghost word, by the staff of G. and C. Merriam Company (now part of Merriam-Webster) in the New International Dictionary, second edition (1934). That dictionary defined the term a synonym for density used in physics and chemistry in the following way: "dord (dôrd), n. Physics & Chem. Density."
Listened to Lecture 13: The Return of English as a Standard from The History of the English Language, 2nd Edition by Seth LererSeth Lerer from The Great Courses

This lecture surveys the history of English from the late 14th to the early 16th centuries to illustrate the ways in which political and social attitudes returned English to the status of the prestige vernacular (over French). In addition, you'll look at institutions influential in this shift, examine attitudes toward the status of English in relationship to French, and more.

cover of The History of the English Language by Seth Lerer

Listened to Lecture 12: Medieval Attitudes toward Language from The History of the English Language, 2nd Edition by Seth LererSeth Lerer from The Great Courses

Here, unpack some attitudes toward language change and variation during the Middle Ages in an effort to understand how writers of the past confronted many of the problems regarding social status and language. Many of these problems, you'll discover, are similar to those we still deal with today.

cover of The History of the English Language by Seth Lerer

Listened to Lecture 11: Dialect Representations in Middle English from The History of the English Language, 2nd Edition by Seth LererSeth Lerer from The Great Courses

Learn about some of the major differences in Middle English speech and writing. The goals of this lecture are threefold: to look at some of the linguistic features of the dialects themselves; to illustrate some of the recent methodologies of dialect study; and to appreciate the literary presentation of dialects in Middle English poetry and drama.

cover of The History of the English Language by Seth Lerer

Listened to Lectures 9 and 10 from The History of the English Language, 2nd Edition by Seth LererSeth Lerer from The Great Courses

Lecture 9: In this fascinating lecture, Professor Lerer looks closely at the changes wrought by the French in English during the 11th to the 14th centuries. In the process, he raises questions about what we might call the "sociology" of language change and contact.
Lecture 10: This lecture presents the central features of Chaucer's English. Its goal is not only to address a particular period in the history of the language (or even in the history of literature) but to allow you to recognize and appreciate the force of Chaucer's poetry and its indelible impact on English linguistic and literary history.

cover of The History of the English Language by Seth Lerer

Lecture 9: What did the Normans do to English?

Words borrowed for two reasons

  • prestige
  • vacant slots with no native words

English words for animals in the countryside, but the words for cooked meats are French

  • cow/beef
  • deer/venison
  • sheep/mutton

Trilingualism: English, French, Latin

Lecture 10 Chaucer’s English

This lecture presents the central features of Chaucer’s English. Its goal is not only to address a particular period in the history of the language (or even in the history of literature) but to allow you to recognize and appreciate the force of Chaucer’s poetry and its indelible impact on English linguistic and literary history.

Read Hedge (linguistics) (Wikipedia)
In applied linguistics and pragmatics (sub-fields of linguistics), hedges allow speakers and writers to signal caution, or probability, versus full certainty. Hedges can also allow speakers and writers to introduce or eliminate ambiguity in meaning and typicality as a category member. Hedging in category membership is used in reference to the prototype theory, to signify the extent to which items are typical or atypical members of different categories. Hedges might be used in writing, to downplay a harsh critique or a generalization, or in speaking, to lessen the impact of an utterance due to politeness constraints between a speaker and addressee. Typically, hedges are adjectives or adverbs, but can also consist of clauses such as one use of tag questions. In some cases, a hedge could be regarded as a form of euphemism. Linguists consider hedges to be tools of epistemic modality; allowing speakers and writers to signal a level of caution in making an assertion. Hedges are also used to distinguish items into multiple categories, where items can be in a certain category to an extent.

The importance of bread in society: the etymology of Lord

In listening to The History of the English Language, 2nd Edition by Seth Lerer (Lecture 8), I came across an interesting word etymology which foodies and particularly bread fans will appreciate.

Dr. Lerer was talking about the compression of syllables at the border of Old English and Middle English circa 1100 which occurred in such terms as hlaf weard, the warden (or guardian) of the loaf.

Who is the guardian of the loaf? The hlfaf weard << The hlaweard << the laweard << the lord. This is the etymology of the word 'lord'. Lord is the guardian of the bread, the mete-er out of bread in a cereal society.

An interesting linguistic change that tells us a lot about power, structure, religion, and society surrounding bread of the time. I suppose one could also look at Christian traditions of the time which looked at the transubstantiation of the symbolic bread of the Last Supper which is ritually turned into the body of Christ–Christ, our lord.

One can’t help noting the slang use of the word “bread” to mean “money”. Perhaps it’s time to go back and re-visit Jeremy Cherfas’ excellent podcast series Our Daily Bread?

Featured image: Bread flickr photo by adactio shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

Listened to Lecture 8: Did the Normans Really Conquer English? from The History of the English Language, 2nd Edition by Seth LererSeth Lerer from The Great Courses

Witness language change in action as English shifts from an inflected to a relatively uninflected language, and as word order takes precedence over case endings and the determiner of meaning. Also, consider how a language builds and forms its vocabulary through building new words out of old ones, or by borrowing them.

cover of The History of the English Language by Seth Lerer

Shift from an inflected language into an uninflected one

Syncretism

Emphasis of archaeolinguistics based on the barely literate. What are they writing so as to capture the daily change of language over time. Linguists look for writing that can be dated and localized.

  • example: Peterborough Chronicle showing changes over time through the years

“word horde” is kenning for mind, so unlocking one’s word horde is to speak one’s mind (example from Beowulf)

Sound changes hl-, hr-, hn-, and fn- level out to l-, r-, n, and sn-

Compression of syllables occurred in such terms as hlaf weard, the guardian or warden of the loaf, which was shortened to become Lord.

“Who is the guardian of the loaf? The hlfaf weard << The hlaweard << the laword << the lord. This is the etymology of the word lord. Lord is the guardian of the lord, the mete-er out of bread in a cereal society.”

metathesis (/mɪˈtæθɪsɪs/; from Greek μετάθεσις, from μετατίθημι “I put in a different order”; Latin: trānspositiō) is the transposition of sounds or syllables in a word or of words in a sentence. Most commonly, it refers to the interchange of two or more contiguous sounds, known as adjacent metathesis[1] or local metathesis:[2]

  • ask / aks in modern English (Southern US)
  • brid / bird
  • axion / ask
  • thork / through
  • The Old English beorht “bright” underwent metathesis to bryht, which became Modern English bright.

The Owl and the Nightingale[edit]

  • early middle-English poem c. 1200 in 2 handwritten manuscripts from 13th c.
  • octosylabic rhymed couplets
  • Old English words held in a francophone container (French style poetic structure)