English

Ok, I just tweeted this (see in the sidebar to the left?), but English is really weird (or is it “wierd”? I always get it wrong the first time). I was reading Fellowship of the Ring to Drew last night and came across this sentence: “Their cold eyes glittered, and they called to him with fell voices.” (Can anyone tell me who they are, and where this is from in the book?) Anyway, it occurred to me, where does English get off using fell as the past tense to fall AND as a word meaning cruel, evil? What’s up with that. Well a quick look on the Online Etymology Dictionary for the word fell gives the answer. Fell, as in “I fell down yesterday” comes from Old English, West Saxon, German (?), Old Norse, and a host of other abbreviations I’m not going to look up. It’s Northern European. Fell as in “cruel, fierce, vicious” comes from Middle (?) Latin and Old French, and of course is related to felon (but what about fellow?). Maybe both of them come from Ancient Indo-European and before that the Tower of Babel and the Flood and who knows, but I’m not looking THAT up.

So there you have it in (very) short. English is a hodge-podge of languages, coming with words that are the same sounds but come from different other languages, so you’ve really got to be on your toes.

So, would you like to come teach it? It’s fun! You get questions like that, even when they’re not from Mexicans! At least you’ll have the Internet to help.

One Response to “English”

  1. 1
    Lisa Jensen

    The blog on dec 1st was fun to read. I read it to my daughter Megan, and we talked about your very precious children. Glad to hear things are going well! We are praying for you!
    Love in Christ
    Lisa Jensen


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