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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: August ::
Words, words, words - Hamlet II.2
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.1678  Tuesday, 26 August 2003

[1]     From:   Sam Small <
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        Date:   Monday, 25 Aug 2003 12:36:41 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1670 Words, words, words - Hamlet II.2

[2]     From:   D Bloom <
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        Date:   Monday, 25 Aug 2003 13:20:25 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1670 Words, words, words - Hamlet II.2

[3]     From:   Markus Marti <
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        Date:   Monday, 25 Aug 2003 22:24:15 +0200
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.1670 Words, words, words - Hamlet II.2


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sam Small <
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Date:           Monday, 25 Aug 2003 12:36:41 +0100
Subject: 14.1670 Words, words, words - Hamlet II.2
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1670 Words, words, words - Hamlet II.2

Very amusing, Thomas.  Actually all the apparent inconsistencies can be
explained in English.  I'm no professor of the subject - there are far
better than me on this list.  But to take an example.  English began
more than 1200 years ago amongst the competitive tribes including
Angles, Saxons and Jutes who invaded Celtic Britain.  They had quite
different Germanic dialects.  The Angles, who lived on the eastern part
of England (now called East Anglia) used 's' to denote plurals - hence
'plants', 'trees', 'clouds'.  The Saxons used 'en' for plurals hence
'oxen', 'children' - an possibly 'men' and 'women'.  However, in the
social and political struggles the Angles were triumphant and the
language became Angle-ish with a few Saxon leftovers.  The disaster of
1066 brought Latin and French to the heart of English creating a new
language that Shakespeare helped to define.  English is the youngest
major modern language on the planet and continues to dominate world
communication.  One and a half billion people speak some form of it -
and of course, so do the best poets.

SAM SMALL

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           D Bloom <
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Date:           Monday, 25 Aug 2003 13:20:25 -0500
Subject: 14.1670 Words, words, words - Hamlet II.2
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1670 Words, words, words - Hamlet II.2

Not to suggest that English does not have its irregularities, but many
of the examples that Mr. Lahey offers are not really significant. That
whole list of words where the noun form and the verb form are spelled
identically merely results from the disappearance of endings in English.
Unlike the odd plurals (of which there are only a comparative handful,
by the way) those are perfectly regular and easily noted from the word
order -- which governs English syntax and is the reason the endings
could be sacrificed. In some cases you have an overlap where two words
have no close relationship, but that is largely accidental and in fact
happens in other European languages.

In a couple of cases, the joke doesn't make any sense at all. Pop, for
example, is short for Papa, Mom for Mama: there is no reason why Mama
should yield Mop.

As to prepositions (used adverbially), such as those found in burn up
and burn down, fill in and fill out, anyone familiar with other
languages knows that prepositions are both a joy and a quicksand (which
is quick because it's alive not because it's speedy). They are not at
all unique to English.

I get a bit weary of this sort of stuff,

Cheers,
don

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Markus Marti <
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Date:           Monday, 25 Aug 2003 22:24:15 +0200
Subject: 14.1670 Words, words, words - Hamlet II.2
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.1670 Words, words, words - Hamlet II.2

Yes, languages are not logical, but they are more logical than you
think, Mr. Laney.

Some of your examples are quite funny, but that is all - upon closer
inspection they are just "wrong" - if "wrong" is the "right" word...

>If teachers taught, why didn't preachers PRAUGHT?

This example is funny, but it is grammatically wrong, look at the
commutation:

"If preachers preached, why didn't teachers TAUGHT"???? or TEACHED ????

>Finally, If Dad is Pop, how's come Mom isn't Mop?

Why should it be "MOP" at all? If DAD = POP, MOM should begin with  "Y"
(the letter "y" is 12 letters after M, just as "P" is the 12th letter
after "D")

I don't know what you want to do with vowels: If "a" in "dAd" becomes
"o" in "pOp", what should "o" in "mOm" (now:  Y - ? - Y) turn into? We
are either looking for a letter that appears 14 positions later in the
alphabet, or for a vowel that appears three positions later in the vowel
paradigm "a-e-i-o-u". Both is impossible. If you accept the rule that we
restart the alphabet or the vowel set, "Mom" should either become "YCY"
or "YEY", certainly not "Mop"...

Maybe it is more helpful to think about the changes from "FATHER" to
"DAD" or from "MOTHER"to "MOM".

It seems that the sounds "th" and "f" are difficult to pronounce for
children. But maybe it's only the parents who think so.  How do you talk
to children?

F... Th...?

MM

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