Category Archives: language change

Seman-tech Changes?


 We know that languages change over time. Some of these changes are shifts in word usage and word senses. The world of technology changes rapidly, and it’s no surprise that word senses might reflect that. Three English nouns have caught … Continue reading

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The Hidden Past of Words: English final -y


Consider the following list of everyday English words:  memory, happy, baby, crazy, victory, city, silly, puppy, army For starters, they all end in -y and they can be grouped further as nouns (memory, baby, victory, city, puppy, army) or adjectives … Continue reading

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Plural Logic


Forming the plural of a noun in English is pretty easy — mostly you add final -s to the singular form (with occasional spelling modifications:  story -> stories).  Linguists refer to nouns that form their plurals with final -s as … Continue reading

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Teenage, Middle-age, New Age


English can form adjectives from the past participles of verbs. Consider: break:broken  the vase was broken -> the broken vase fall:fallen   his popularity has fallen recently -> his fallen popularity bake:baked  the bread was baked in a brick oven -> … Continue reading

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We’re All Verbs Now


Maybe, maybe not. Are there any English speakers today who don’t accept text as a verb? It was an easy move to permit text as a verb, follownig the paradigm of other communication channel noun-verb pairs in English — the … Continue reading

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Linguistic Asymmetries


Have you ever noticed that, while some words which take a prefix seem to form nice pairings with opposite meaning polarity (tie/untie, compliance/noncompliance, tasteful/distasteful), other pairs don’t work this way? For example, there is nonplussed, but not plussed, insipid, but … Continue reading

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Bootstraps


The word bootstrap is pretty common nowadays and shows up mostly as a verb. It is used frequently in the context of Internet and technology enterprises and refers to the process of getting things done, built, or advanced without much … Continue reading

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