Friday, 19 March 2010

The History of Words

Can you make word history? Can you stretch the boundaries of word use?
One thing I love about the English language is that it is constantly evolving. Remember when gay used to mean happy? Or when wicked used to a bad thing?

English has evolved from many languages: Latin, Spanish, French, Greek and it's still evolving. Proof? Google (both a registered verb and noun) it.

So, for those who love words and the wonder of language, here's a fun exercise.

1) Find a good dictionary. One with etymology (that means word origins) in it. Dictionary.com if you don't own paper anymore.

2) Look up the following words: gossip, adultery, kangaroo, music, television, orange, sandwich, marathon, husband, lunatic.

3) Look up ten other words that you have recently used in your writing.

4) Write a story that reveals something about the origin and roots of some of these words while still using them in a modern sense.

10 comments:

Talli Roland said...

I love the origin of words. 'The Story of English' is one of my all-time favourite books!

PS - I have an award for you over on my blog! :)

Jemi Fraser said...

I enjoy words - I've been using etymology sites because of the steampunk novel and I sometimes get lost in searching up words :)

Ann Elle Altman said...

Thank you so much, Talli. Can't wait to follow your blog.

I love learning origins of words...it really opens up the world to me.

ann

Jen said...

It's amazing how our language evolves so quickly...


I love the word WICKED!!!!

TirzahLaughs said...

I can't believe you posted it on the same day that I posted on what is a word.

Irony? LOL.

I love looking at words.

Tirz

arlee bird said...

I think it's a conspiracy.

Rayna M. Iyer said...

I love tracing the history of words, and am definitely going to take a crack at writing a story with your words.

wiggyswordsofwisdom said...

Or you can make up your own words like I do. You don't think odorificness invented itself do you ? LOL Great post my dear. :)

Carol Kilgore said...

I love that you wrote 'husband' and 'lunatic' side by side.

Ann Elle Altman said...

You guys make me laugh... I assure you, I had no intention of listing lunatic and husband side by side but...

I know that Wiggy does invent many of his own words...but that's what makes his work so humorous.

ann