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#26799 04/16/01 07:17 PM
Joined: Mar 2000
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When you hear someone pronouncing "ask" as "aks" or "pretty" as "purty",
do you find yourself looking down your nose? Not so fast! What you're
witnessing is the English language busy at work, mutating, evolving, and
refurbishing its wordstock, making things easier to pronounce. Known as
metathesis, it is the same process that gave us dirt (from drit) and curd
(from crud!). If you ever used the word flimsy, you did it: the word is
the metathesized form of the word filmsy. It is somewhat like our friend
spoonerism, except that here the letters or sounds get transposed within
the same word. Many everyday words appear in a form created by such
interchange of letters: the word bird came from Old English brid, third
from thridda. Going back to "ask," here is an interesting twist. The word
"ask" itself came from Old English forms acsian and ascian that co-existed.
Eventually the latter won over and became standard. So what we are seeing
here is history repeating itself. A few hundred years and who knows, we
may be exhorting, "Aks not what your country can do for you ..."

This week we'll look at a few more words that are metathetic forms of
former words.


#26800 05/26/01 01:39 AM
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stranger
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OK so here's what your saying, when my mom say's purty instead of pretty she's just contribuating to the evolution of a living language, and I should look down on her?
How annoying! just when I thought I had found out that mothers are not always right.


#26801 05/28/01 05:08 AM
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Carpal Tunnel
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In reply to:

I should look down on her


Only if you're considerably taller than she is.

Bingley



Bingley
#26802 05/28/01 11:14 AM
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> Only if you're considerably taller than she is.

Or if she were seated



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