Category: Phonology

October 10, 2018

100,000 Words Whose Pronunciations Have Changed

We all know that language changes over time, and one of the major components of language change is sound change. Many of the words we use today are pronounced differently than they were in Shakespeare’s or Chaucer’s time. You may have seen articles like this one that list 10 or 15 words whose pronunciations have […]

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Historical linguistics, Phonology 4 Replies to “100,000 Words Whose Pronunciations Have Changed”
March 28, 2016

The Taxing Etymology of Ask

A couple of months back, I learned that task arose as a variant of tax, with the /s/ and /k/ metathesized. This change apparently happened in French before the word was borrowed into English. That is, French had the word taxa, which came from Latin, and then the variant form tasca arose and evolved into […]

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Historical linguistics, Phonology 9 Replies to “The Taxing Etymology of Ask
May 18, 2015

You Are Not Dr. Seuss

A couple of weeks ago, Nancy Friedman tweeted a link to an article about Netflix’s forthcoming adaptation of Green Eggs and Ham. And sadly but predictably, whoever wrote the press release about the announcement felt compelled to write in Seussian verse, despite having no idea how to do so. Here’s the official press release, and […]

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Phonology, Poetry 6 Replies to “You Are Not Dr. Seuss”
December 20, 2013

The Pronunciation of Smaug

With the recent release of the new Hobbit movie, The Desolation of Smaug, a lot of people have been talking about the pronunciation of the titular dragon’s name. The inclination for English speakers is to pronounce it like smog, but Tolkien made clear in his appendixes to The Lord of the Rings that the combination […]

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Historical linguistics, Phonology 20 Replies to “The Pronunciation of Smaug”
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