“What is common” riddle
Posted: 20 September 2007 11:39 AM   [ Ignore ]
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I recently came across something that could be expressed as a riddle.

What do the following words have in common?

buy
catch
bring
seek
think
teach
fight
and perhaps “work”

A couple of people thought this was hard. However, I thought of the posters here as a good test group. So I hope a few of you might say about how long it took you to discover the answer. By the way, the answer I intend is not something obvious like “they’re all in English”.

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Posted: 20 September 2007 11:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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A lot easier than dr. techie’s teaser. They’re all monosyllables and in the past tense change to “...ought’ or “...aught”. I would exclude “work”, myself.

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Posted: 20 September 2007 12:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Yes, they’re all strong, transitive verbs. And with the exception of catch, which was introduced to the language by the Normans, they all have Old English roots.

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Posted: 20 September 2007 02:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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lionello - 20 September 2007 11:59 AM

A lot easier than dr. techie’s teaser. They’re all monosyllables and in the past tense change to “...ought’ or “...aught”. I would exclude “work”, myself.

Yes, I would say the past tense of “work” is “worked”, but some dictionaries also list “wrought”.

I also found that “ought” used to be the past tense for “owe”. I was originally struck by the variety of present tense forms that have these rhyming past tense forms (perhaps they only rhyme in my Midwestern dialect). It seems like the past tense meaning of “-ought” overwhelms the rest of the word. Oh, perhaps it’s a “cognate” of “-ed” (if “cognate” may be used for a morpheme).

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Posted: 23 September 2007 11:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Took about ten seconds.

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Posted: 24 September 2007 06:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Here’s what the OED has to say about worked/wrought

The new pa. tense and pple. worked, formed directly on the inf. stem, became established in the 15th century; it is now the normal form except in archaic usage (in which the older form wrought may appear in any sense), and in senses which denote fashioning, shaping, or decorating with the hand or an implement

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Posted: 24 September 2007 09:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Perhaps the Old English word “gewyrcan” on the Alfred jewel could be rendered “wrought” or “worked”, then, rather than the usual (more pedestrian) translation “made”? “gewyrcan” sounds a lot more like “worked” than like “made”, though of course sounding alike doesn’t necessary signify identity, as we are often reminded on this board. I’ve wondered about this, ever since first reading about the Alfred Jewel --- and this looks like a good time and place to ask.

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Posted: 25 September 2007 07:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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It could certainly be translated that way if your intent was to emphasize the etymological relationship between the OE wyrcan and the MnE work. But made is a better translation if your objective is to render it into idiomatic, modern English.

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Posted: 25 September 2007 08:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Yes, in my opinion translation should be strictly by meaning unless you’re going for an archaic effect.

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