Olde English.... Really Olde English!

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by jason_els, Feb 26, 2009.

  1. jason_els

    jason_els <img border="0" src="/images/badges/gold_member.gi

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    So what do you think are the oldest words in the English language? Would you believe some of them are tens of thousands of years old? Apparently they are according to researchers at Reading University.

    I don't know about you, but I really like, "guts," and don't want to lose it. It's a great word to use when you're a kid, one the military relies on heavily, and who would sing, "Greasy, Grimy, Gopher Organs?"
     
  2. D_Rod Staffinbone

    D_Rod Staffinbone Account Disabled

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    strangely enough, the word "shit" or "shite" goes back to old english.
    the word was used in books dating back to the 14th century, evidently.


    ok, according to wikipedia, "scitan" or "scitte" (dung) was the actual old english word but only about 1,000 years ago, "shite" was middle english. hopefully the next post will elevate the dialogue here!
     
    #2 D_Rod Staffinbone, Feb 26, 2009
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2009
  3. pym

    pym New Member

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    I believe the word APPLE goes back to the dawn of liguistics throughout several cultures........apal....the most basic varient.
     
  4. B_Nick8

    B_Nick8 New Member

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    My little sister and I still love the expression "I hate your guts" and we collapse into laughter when we say it (and when we're really angry at each other we still say it). I would hate to lose that one!
     
  5. midlifebear

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    Yup, there's a bunch of words from the earliest documented English that have survived, having gone out of and back into fashion.


    However, rather than archaic or ancient English words still in use, I'm more fascinated with The Great Vowel Shift which, in many cases has changed the meaning of original English words or made them obsolete. Unless a native speaker of English has studied Linguistics in college or graduate school most are likely unaware of this rather amazing phenomenon called The Great Vowel Shift that began at an uncertain point in the 15th Century and calmed down by the middle to the end of the 18th Century. However, in some cases the shift continues although most modern changes are usually regarded as simply differences in dialectical pronunciations. English is somewhat unique in that how it was spoken completely changed from the 15th Century to the late 18th Century, especially with regard to long vowels (A as in apple, for example). For a quick overview of TGVC see: The Great Vowel Shift

    Few languages, except for Chinese and the incoherent differences between Mandarin and Cantonese, have changed as much as English. Even Chinese dialects seem basically frozen in time and are spoken only in their various regions of the People's Republic as the local, informal language, whereas Mandarin has become the "official" dialect and understood by most.

    But French (except as spoken by our favorite friends, les Quebecois, in Canada), German, Spanish, and even Vulgate Latin (Italian) have pretty much remained unchanged for the last 500+ years. Unlike Shakespeare, who takes some training to learn to read and speak aloud, Cervantes' works are easily read by modern, 21st Century Spaniards, Argentines, Chileans, Puerto Ricans, and Méxicans, although each Spanish-speaking country has its own distinct dialect(s). Yet, the core lexicon of words themselves have not changed or evolved. Some may no longer be used very often, but are easily recognizable.

    But I agree that good, reliable English words of yore, such as guts, have their place. The English researchers cited by the BBC may, indeed, be able to predict the extinction of some words in current UK usage, but I'll wager they'll remain current in the vocabularies of other English-speaking countries not beholding to the quaint tradition of maintaining an inbred monarchy.
     
    #5 midlifebear, Feb 27, 2009
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2009
  6. DC_DEEP

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    That article didn't give much in the way of examples, so I'm not sure I really understand what they are getting at.

    I get the part about tracking word changes over time, but not the part about "linking a sound to a concept."

    It would seem that the earliest words (and obviously, therefore, the oldest) would be the most basic... those describing family (mother, father, baby), those describing environment (hot, cold, animals, plants, caves, rocks, rain), and those describing survival needs (food, water, shelter, clothing.) We have no way of knowing what words would have been used for any of those concepts 40,000 years ago, but they must have been among the first when spoken language first developed.

    I seem to recall reading somewhere that the word that seems most common to most languages is "mama." That makes a lot of sense. It would also make sense that a word describing the concept "mama" would be much, much older than the word describing the concept "spear," which would be much older than the concept of "spoon," which is probably older than the concept of "alphabet."
     
  7. B_Jennuine73

    B_Jennuine73 New Member

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    Interesting thread. French here is different region by region. I speak a different french, growing up in a small french community in Ontario, than someone growing up in Montreal.

    I am wondering how they can predict which words will be extinct.
     
    #7 B_Jennuine73, Feb 27, 2009
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  8. SpeedoMike

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    swiving...
     
  9. epi_sin

    epi_sin New Member

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  10. jason_els

    jason_els <img border="0" src="/images/badges/gold_member.gi

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    I've been told we actually begin speaking before we begin speaking. When we first attempt to mimic sounds that we hear, what we hear determines what those sounds will be. An English teacher told me that babies in English-speaking homes will make long A sounds while a child raised in an Irish-speaking home will make long O sounds.
     
  11. Catchoftheday

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    :biggrin1:

    http://oldeenglishcider.com/oe_home.asp
     
  12. drumstyck

    drumstyck New Member

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    i had a professor use this as an example of a "world consciousness" of sorts...but he continued on to the reasoning for it...the most simple sound for a baby to make is just opening their mouth & going "ahhhhh"...and when you add in the motion their mouths make while breastfeeding, you add the "m"...so the baby associates food with "m" and "ah", and it eventually becomes "mahmah"

    according to him (i dont know if its entirely true), this occurs in every culture in the world...obviously regional accents might skew things, but in general every baby in the world cries for "mah-mah"

    so does that make "mama" the oldest word in the history of mankind? maybe...
     
  13. Amber1

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    The word 'cunt' dates back to Chaucers Canterbury Tales.

    it was written 'queynte' but pronounced 'cunt.'


    The first appearance of the word in written english was in London Street Names (1954). There was a street called 'Gropecuntelane.' Nice eh!!

    www.billcasselmen.com/unpublished_works/cunt_wordorigin_use.htm

    quite an interesting and well written article.... if u like historical stuff.
     
  14. pym

    pym New Member

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    Speaking of which.......i recall coming across the term "Wood" in reference to being Mad/Insane wilst reading Mallory's translation of The Caxton text's:regarding King Aurthur's being betrayed by Lancelot. Lancelot then goes into the forest and lives a hermit/animal like existence. And was as/with 'WOOD'. I think i came across that reference researching Christopher Marlowe too. Archaeic English.
     
    #14 pym, Feb 27, 2009
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2009
  15. kalipygian

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    The root is common to Teutonic languages, so is older than English, as are most words.

    The basic root is to get rid of, throw, or propel forcefully, to let fly. From the same root: shoot, shot, scot, shit, shite, shyster, shut, skeet, skit, skite, scoot, scout, scoff, sheet, scoop, shuttle, shutter, squirt, scat.

    ME shotien, OE sceotan, MDutch shieten, OFrisian skiata, OSaxon sciotan, OHGerman sciozzan, MHG schiezen, ONorse skiota.

    There are possible cognates in Lithuanian, Greek, and Crimean, so there is possibly a common Indo-European root meaning to cast or throw.

    (to get off scot free is not a reference to the inhabitants of the northern kingdom)
     
    #15 kalipygian, Feb 27, 2009
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