Sunday, January 09, 2005

I love words

An interesting article on the origins of some English words posted over at the Witches Voice:
Many English words have fascinating histories The word "bless," which has Christian connotations for many of us, had pagan origins, coming from an old German word meaning "to sprinkle with blood."
I find language fascinating. I've always been interested in other languages, but it wasn't until I started learning French in college that I tuned into English. Having learned two romance languages (and dabbled in Italian), forced me into a new perspective of the language I've always spoken. Now I have a four-year old who expands her vocabulary daily, and reminds me that much of what is 'correct' is not logical. I often speak with people who do not speak English as their first or preferred language. I am conscious of idioms, word order, and random meanings that seem to make no sense. Words come from all sorts of places, and I love to search out an origin of a phrase or expression. Bank teller is one. Well, I did some searching and found that to tell used to mean to count. So the meaning of to tell changed, but the phrase bank teller stuck around. In Spanish, the verb contar means to tell and to count. In French, compter = to count, and raconter = to tell. One little example...but it is just the sort of thing filling my head if I have a quiet moment.


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