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HD: Word Origins Quiz
Posted: 15 July 2014 04:16 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Check it out

[ Edited: 15 July 2014 01:53 PM by Dave Wilton ]
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Posted: 15 July 2014 04:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Dave Wilton - 15 July 2014 04:16 AM

Check it out

20 from 20 here. It seemed to me that they chose fairly easy examples.

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Posted: 15 July 2014 04:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Same here. I was expecting some trickery à la shirt/skirt, but it was fairly easy to approach it from the other, Latinate, end. The only one I paused over was cry/weep, but decided that the former must come from some sort of Latin, given the French cri. I then looked it up, and discovered it comes from quiritare, which was interesting.

[ Edited: 15 July 2014 05:00 AM by kurwamac ]
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Posted: 15 July 2014 06:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Yes, ditto. There was no sense of satisfaction in getting full marks as the words all pretty obviously bore the marks of their parentage.

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Posted: 15 July 2014 07:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I stopped after three or four because it felt like a waste of time.  Good idea for a quiz, but they need to revamp it.

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Posted: 15 July 2014 07:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I guess I’m the dunce here because I got 19 out of 20.  When it came to belief/faith I chose faith and my strategy of choosing the shorter word as Anglo-Saxon backfired, having no idea faith ultimately came from Latin fidere.

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Posted: 15 July 2014 12:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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also straightforward for me, but working in a German speaking country while living in a French speaking country helped…

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Posted: 15 July 2014 03:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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20/20.  the few I hesitated over I managed to dredge up some romance cognates.

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Posted: 15 July 2014 05:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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I reckon that we could easily come up with trickier pairs

e.g. cloak/shroud

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Posted: 16 July 2014 03:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Exactly, shirt/skirt should be the easiest.

You/they might be a good one.

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Posted: 16 July 2014 07:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Confused by your entries, Faldage. Skirt, shirt, you, they… are all Germanic.

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Posted: 16 July 2014 08:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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But only one from each pair is from Old English.

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Posted: 16 July 2014 09:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Shirt and skirt are not at all good choices. Neither word, in the present meaning or form are recorded in Old English—they appear during the Middle English period, but could very well be older—and the development is thoroughly confused.

There is the OE scyrte, which was a type of garment, either for the lower or upper body depending on context. This word developed in the native manner to become shirt. Norse influence brought us skirt via a cognate. You’ve got an inseparable melding of the two linguistic traditions.

You and they are good choices, though. They is a later borrowing from Old Norse, and one of the rare examples of pronominal borrowing.

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Posted: 16 July 2014 10:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Dave Wilton - 16 July 2014 09:29 AM

Shirt and skirt are not at all good choices. Neither word, in the present meaning or form are recorded in Old English—they appear during the Middle English period, but could very well be older—and the development is thoroughly confused.

Well, very few words are recorded in OE in their present form. But the OED entries would seem to support the distinction between the word pronounced with the phoneme that we have in ‘shirt’, which it derives from OE, and the one with the phoneme in ‘skirt’, which it derives from Norse. This would be in accord with what I’ve always understood about the latter phoneme, which not only didn’t exist in OE, but is one of those sounds that doesn’t crop up in quite a few languages, being rather difficult to say. Hence the common ask/aks confusion. Of course, it’s possible I’m behind the times on this, and the standard view is now rather different.

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Posted: 16 July 2014 12:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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The OED entries for these words are a century old. The semantic distinction between shirt and skirt arose in Middle English. The OE scyrte (generally pronounced with the / sh / phoneme) could refer either to a garment that covered the upper or lower body--in at least one instance it glosses the Latin praetexta, a style of toga. Clearly the modern skirt is the result of Norse influence (probably from a regional dialect of Northeast England, the region that was under the Danelaw in OE times) and shirt is a direct descendant of the OE scyrte, but we don’t know how these two cognates differentiated from one another and led to the modern distinction. Both forms were probably in use during the Anglo-Saxon era, i.e., it’s a dialectal difference between regions of England. Saying that skirt is from Old Norse and shirt from Old English is gross oversimplification.

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Posted: 16 July 2014 04:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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In any case, each pair in this Quiz contains one word of AS origin and one word of French origin, as stated in the introduction. I chose cloak/shroud because the French origin of the word cloak is, well, shrouded by its spelling.

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