Adjectives, Adverbs, and Homophones, Oh My!

Discussion in 'The Powder Keg' started by Kellen, Sep 19, 2020.

  1. Huh? What?

    Huh? What? G&G Evangelist

    Central AZ
    Thank you. A perfect example of what I meant when I said without changing language "proper" modern English would not exist.
    PaleHawkDown likes this.
  2. Kellen

    Kellen G&G Evangelist

    You and I both, brother. I was inspired by Theodore Roosevelt's biography, "Theodore Rex." While serving as president, Roosevelt tried to implement hundreds of changes to American English. Included among them was to change the spelling of "through" to "thru." Roosevelt did not act alone. He had Melvil Dewey (famous for the dewey decimal library system he invented), David Brewer (Associate Justice of the Supreme Court), author Mark Twain, and the uber-rich Andrew Carnegie on his side participating in the Simplified Spelling Board out of New York City. With SSB leading the charge, Carnegie funded 30 of the country's best writers, language experts, and scholars to "fix" English in America. Along with proposing a spelling change of through to thru, some other changes included dropping the silent "h" (so character became caracter, school became scool), combining "ea" into just "a" (so heart became hart), shortening "ey" to just "y" (so chimney became just chimny, money became mony), and many other proposals. Congress did what Congress does and got snippy because they weren't controlling the SSB, so on December 13, 1906 the House of Representatives passed a resolution stating that it would use the spelling found in most dictionaries and not the new, simplified spelling proposed by Roosevelt and the SSB. Unfortunately, Roosevelt wasn't in office long enough for his efforts to become permanent changes in our language, and the SSB faded into obscurity. One of their ideas that did stick was to change "phantasy" to fantasy. But I love the idea of changing through to thru, and it does seem many people spell it that way regardless.
    noelekal likes this.

  3. TXplt

    TXplt Gun Toting Boeing Driver Forum Contributor

    Well, I wonder where "I'm fixin' to make a comment" would fit in.........
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  4. runfiverun

    runfiverun G&G Evangelist

    well you could put it in now that there has been a pause break.
  5. noelekal

    noelekal G&G Evangelist

    Oh yeah! "Fixin'" is a staple in our speech here at home.
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  6. Jaison

    Jaison G&G Evangelist Forum Contributor

    Fixin’ ain’t goin’ nowhere.
  7. Big Dog

    Big Dog Retired IT Dinosaur Wrangler Forum Contributor

    I'm so happy the SSB failed. Not one of Teddy's brighter ideas. Surprised they didn't get that larcenous old reprobate Edison in on it.
    BigEd63 likes this.
  8. Huey Rider

    Huey Rider G&G Evangelist Forum Contributor

    As I reed thees postz I’m reminded theirs a lot of truth inn them; thanx!
    Jaison likes this.
  9. maddogg

    maddogg G&G Evangelist

    Around here kin is used instead of can. Kin I have a piece of pie?
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  10. chris l2018

    chris l2018 G&G Evangelist

    Less and fewer are not interchangeable...

    "10 items or less"

    You mean

    "10 items or fewer"?
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  11. Personally I like things pretty much the way they are... I know lot's of folks 'Round Here who Speak quite colorfully on purpose to the point it's almost an Art form similar to what makes movies like "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou" so delightful.

    By the same token I also find that it saves a lot of time interacting with folks. If everyone communicated like an English Teacher it would not only slow things down, but also make me have to interact with people for much longer period of time before I could determine if they were full of Sheit! :D
  12. Big Dog

    Big Dog Retired IT Dinosaur Wrangler Forum Contributor

    And I notice nowadays no one uses the "er" suffix. It's "more this", "more that". Makes the speaker sound like a not very bright six year old. :oops:
    Ten Man and Jaison like this.
  13. Jaison

    Jaison G&G Evangelist Forum Contributor

    That’s one that gets me, too. It’s grating, actually, but that’s just me.
    Ten Man likes this.
  14. PaleHawkDown

    PaleHawkDown G&G Evangelist

    I understand the rest, but the reason "h-e-a-r-t" was chosen as the "proper" spelling of heart by early dictionary writers was to differentiate it between the totally unrelated "h-a-r-t" - what we now call a buck.

    It is a sort of moot point in modern English, so a change now wouldn't matter, but even in Roosevelt's time several New England and darn-near-Canada dialects used the word "hart."

    Before a couple of world wars boogered it up there was also a movement to "Germanize" the spelling of the English language. It would have made spelling more simple, but it would have made a bad situation worse in a lot of ways.

    Early dictionary writers were unsure of the etymology of certain words, so they often made guesses as to the origin, or they based their etymology on another, earlier, dictionary writer's work. That is how "drove" and "drive" ended up together. Two totally different words, from different roots, had some vague connection with animals. Some accents even said the words similarly. Thus the two are forever connected in modern English.

    Same with slow and slowly, though in Older English forms they were not even pronounced similarly. Slow was always pronounced with a "w" or soft Germanic "h" sound at the end.
    The "slow" in "slowly" was meant to rhyme with to rhyme with "cough". In some northern English dialects this was, and still is, pronounced like "sloff" or "sloth" but with a softer "th" sound. In Southern dialects it was pronounced to rhyme with, a female pig - sow. In London it was pronounced "sloo."

    Ironically, "slough" and "slow" share a common ancestor, with slough getting a stupid spelling due to a weird linguistic trend in spelling at the time. I can't remember which dictionary did it first, but one of them decided the words were connected, and that despite all logic, "slowly" was somehow the diminutive of "slow" and was therefore its adverb.

    Things get really crazy when a word of Greek or Latin roots sounded vaguely like a Germanic word. Then we get all sorts of crazy spellings, mis-attributed meanings, and ridiculous plurals.

    Germanicized spelling would only have exacerbated this. One of my favorite things about this was an internal struggle in the germanic-spelling organization itself. They could not figure out how to spell "cow." Ku, koe, kuh, koo, kau and kao were all considered. The problem is that the most "Germanic" spellings were not pronounced correctly, and the ones that could be pronounced correctly were considered, "too Greek."
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2020
  15. PaleHawkDown

    PaleHawkDown G&G Evangelist

    When I was really little some of the very old folks used the word "ken" to mean "understand." People of even my grandmother's generation used "kin" to mean relative, and did not use "ken" at all. They were pronounced the same.

    I was so confused as a child when a really old person would tell me something, then ask, "You ken?" "No sir, I don't think so, but if you've got any kin on the Mountain we might be."

    Along the same line, I had a hard time with "folks." My dad's side of the family were Yankees, and I first learned to speak in Illinois. "Folks" means "parents" up there. In many rural parts of Alabama "folks" were your extended kin, including close family friends that received "aunt" or "uncle" status.

    This was very important. In some closed off communities (Cherokee County, for example) these connections were like the distinctions Chinese people use - Chinese national, Chinese born - but raised abroad, Foreign-born Chinese, and outsiders. An outsider would never be accepted unless they married into a family. Someone with family ties who was born elsewhere was loosely accepted as long as they recounted their ties at the start of every new meeting. The next highest ranking would be "born there but raised elsewhere". "Local" meaning you stayed where you were planted which gave you a community status.

    In Birmingham they simply used the northern meaning of the word.

    This made the question, "who are your folks," a bit of a minefield. Growing up in the crossroads of Cherokee, Dekalb and Etowah counties, and not having a "local" last name to work as my establishing line of ancestry, I practically had to learn to introduce myself like a Viking.

    "I am Lothar, son of Dreng, the son of Tor and Lar of the Illinois Yankees. I am also the son of Frigga, daughter of Dunder and Kir. My aunt, Helga, daughter of Ragnar the Deacon, ran the gas station on the local gap road with her husband, Wulf the Lion and Rotarian. Kir and Helga were of your tribe of Centre, each daughters of Ragnar the Deacon. My cousin Sturm fixes tractors at the Feed 'n' Seed. The boy ain't right, but he's a hard worker and we love him."

    Outside of rural Alabama, no one wants to hear your family history to establish your bona fides.

    Somewhere along the line "folks" came to mean "parents" all over Alabama, "who are your people" or the less polite, "That ain't a _____ County name, you got kin here?" replaced it for establishing local ties, and the issue sorted itself out.
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2020
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  16. animalspooker

    animalspooker G&G Evangelist

    Somebody else is gonna have to get onto Griz. I was taught early on that you don't correct your elders.
  17. Ten Man

    Ten Man G&G Evangelist

    It's not a productive use of time. Being from Alaska, he's "frozen" in his ways. LOL!!!!!!