Sunday, July 30, 2017

The Origin of English Words

There are certain classes of English words from whose outward form we may conclude that they are of Latin (or French) origin.
First, when an English noun ends in ‘tion’ preceded by a vowel, we may be pretty sure that it is either directly from Latin, or from Latin through French. Such words as ‘formation,’ ‘completion,’ ‘transition,’ ‘commotion,’ and ‘ablution,’ are derived either directly or indirectly from Latin. We never meet with this ending in words of purely Saxon origin. The termination of these was in Latin ‘tio;’ in French they appear in ‘tion;’ and in English the same ending (tion) is adopted. This Latin
ending, ‘tio,’ is, however, sometimes found in French in the form son, which has thus been introduced into certain English words of this class. The Latin ‘ratio’ gave the French ‘raison’ and the
English ‘reason.’ Again, ‘traditio’ in Latin became ‘trahison’ in French and ‘treason’ in English. But in many cases the French ending has not passed into English; for the words ‘declinaison,’ ‘conjugaison,’ ‘oraison,’ &c., appear in English as ‘declen sion,’ ‘conjuga tion,’ and ora tion, i.e. in their Latin rather than their French forms.
Another large class of originally Latin words appear in English with the ending ‘ty.’ These are all abstract nouns, which in Latin end in ‘tas.’ This final tas is expressed in French by , and in English by ty. Thus the Latin ‘socie tas’ becomes in French ‘socié ’ and in English ‘socie ty.’ In the same way, from the Latin ‘bonitas’ come the French ‘bon ’ and the English ‘boun ty,’ &c.
In many of these cases we find two forms of the same word, each with its own meaning. One of these tends to the French, and the other to the Latin, in spelling; and it may be observed that the French has been more disturbed by contraction, abbreviation, or inversion than the Latin. For example, the two words ‘secure’ and ‘sure’ are both originally from the Latin ‘securus;’ but the former is directly from Latin, whereas the latter is from the French contracted form--‘sûr.’

Another pair of these double forms may be found in ‘hospital’ and ‘hôtel.’ The Latin ‘hospes’ signified either a ‘host’ or a guest, i.e. the entertainer or the entertained. From ‘hospitalis’
came the contracted French form ‘hôtel,’ in the sense of a house where guests or travellers are entertained, as distinguished from ‘hôpital,’ where invalids are taken care of. From the French both
these words came into English, each retaining its original meaning.

This principle of a divided meaning is also seen in ‘persecute’ and ‘pursue,’ the latter of which was known in English before we became acquainted with the former. ‘Pursue’ is from the French
‘poursuivre,’ and is used in the general sense of following after eagerly. ‘Persecute,’ from the Latin ‘persecutus,’ the participle of ‘persĕqui,’ is distinguished from ‘pursue’ by the meaning of ‘to
follow after with an intent to injure.’

Two other words of this class are ‘superficies’ and ‘surface.’ The former is pure Latin; and is compounded of ‘super,’ ‘upon,’ and ‘facies,’ a face. But this word is only used in a scientific
or mathematical sense; whereas ‘surface’ has a more general signification, and means whatever we can see of the outside of any material substance.

We find a similar difference of meaning, as well as form, between ‘potion’ and ‘poison.’ Both these came originally from the Latin ‘potare,’ to drink. The former is the direct Latin, the latter
the French form, and both are now English. But the second denotes a species of the first; for ‘poison,’ as is well known, is that species of ‘potion’ which destroys life.

Saturday, July 29, 2017


    Great, wide, wonderful, beautiful world,
    With the wonderful water around you curled,
    And the wonderful grass upon your breast--
    World, you are beautifully dressed!

    The wonderful air is over me,
    And the wonderful wind is shaking the tree;
    It walks on the water and whirls the mills,
    And talks to itself on the tops of the hills.

    You friendly Earth, how far do you go,
    With wheat fields that nod, and rivers that flow,
    With cities and gardens, and oceans and isles,
    And people upon you for thousands of miles?

    Ah, you are so great and I am so small,
    I hardly can think of you, World, at all;
    And yet, when I said my prayers today,
    My mother kissed me, and said, quite gay:

    “If the wonderful World is great to you,
    And great to father and mother, too,
    You are more than the Earth, though you are such a dot,
    You can love and think, and the Earth cannot!”

                                                                        William Brighty Rands

Friday, July 28, 2017

Vocabulary Task

level at
dumb down
housemaid’s knee

trapeze act

1.     As soon as Uncle Wiggily had sung this song, he looked up quickly from under his ______ umbrella to see if it had stopped raining, but it hadn’t, and he got a drop right in his left eye, which made him sneeze so hard that his spectacles fell off.
2.     Why I have not got ______, I cannot tell you; but the fact remains that I have not got it.
3.     Most especially there was a _____ lady, named Miss Jane Fuzzy-Wuzzy, who liked Uncle Wiggily very much.
4.     He used to sleep in a hollow _____, near the nest of the tailor bird, and one night it rained so hard that he had to go to bed and pull the dried leaves up over him to keep warm.
5.     Summer continues _____ here.
6.     However _____ I may feel, I want to prolong the agony as long as possible.
7.     The children’s favourite part of the circus programme was the _____.
8.     He uses _____ to pick up vibrations under the earth, and so I call him Popo.
9.     The prince made no reply; so his _____ sat down to enjoy the sight of his dying victim.
10.Being still a child of earth, she clapped her hands and _____ with other children to the tower.
11.How can workplace _____ potentially save companies huge amounts of money?
12.Charges or corruption and unethical behavior have recently been _____ both Volkswagen and Rolls- Royce.
13.Dr. Spiers believes that modern technology is _____us ______ completely.
14.Many times as a child _____, you take your rangers on patrol.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

The origin of "nose"

It is said that the word ‘nose’ originally signified a promontory--something prominent--and that it is so called from being the prominent feature of the face. This view is supported by its analogy with naze, a headland, and the Scotch ness (as in Inver ness), a part of the coast which juts forward. It may
be observed that the word meaning ‘nose’ has in most European languages the form N-S-. This may be seen in the Greek νῆσος, an island or promontory; the Latin nasus, the Italian naso, the German Nase, the French nez, and the English nose. Whether this be or be not an onomatopoeia one thing is certain, viz. that in English the initial sn (ns inverted) in so many cases expresses nasal action, that it may be taken as a general type of that meaning. This may be found in a multitude of words having that initial, all expressing various actions of the nose. It may be seen in ‘sn-arl,’ ‘sn-eer,’ ‘sn-eeze,’ ‘sn-iff,’ ‘sn-ore,’ ‘sn-ort,’ ‘sn-ooze,’ ‘sn-out,’ ‘sn-ub,’ ‘sn-uff,’and etc.


All linguists admit that in every language certain words, more especially those that convey ideas of sound, are formed on the principle of onomatopœia; i.e. an attempt to make the pronunciation conform to the sound. Such English words as ‘hiss,’ ‘roar,’ ‘bang,’ ‘buzz,’ ‘crash,’ &c., are of this class. One can hardly pronounce these words without, in some sense, performing the acts which they represent.


 I am round.

 I am red.

 I am just a bit sour.

 Would you like to eat me?

Some Grammar

 Fill the blank spaces with is, or are:

 A gray squirrel ---- in the tree.

 The squirrel ---- fond of nuts.

 The tree ---- once the squirrel’s home.

 Hickory nuts ---- the squirrel’s food.


    The world’s a very happy place,
      Where every child should dance and sing,
    And always have a smiling face,
      And never sulk for anything.

    The world is such a happy place,
      That children, whether big or small,
    Should always have a shining face,
      And never, never sulk at all.

     Answer the questions:

 What kind of place is the world?

 What should every child have?

 What should a child do?

 What should a child never do?

Friday, July 21, 2017

An October Pumpkin Story

 One afternoon in late October, father went down to the field to get a  pumpkin.  The children went along too. They wanted to see that father picked out  a large pumpkin. They wanted to help bring it back to the house.
 Although it was October, there were still some pumpkins to be found in  the field.  Father led the way. The children came trooping after. The pumpkins grew down in the cornfield. Their long, coarse stems lay  sprawling on the ground. Their big, rough leaves looked like green  umbrellas. The boys saw a very large pumpkin. They were just going to pick it,  but father said, “Not that one.”  Father looked around until he found a deep, yellow pumpkin. He told  the children that deep, yellow pumpkins make the best pies.
 The children soon found another pumpkin, somewhat smoother than the  others. They picked that to use for a Jack-o’-lantern.  Then they went back to the house, carrying the huge yellow fruit with
 them.  The girls went into the house, to see mother make pumpkin pies.  Mother cut open the yellow pumpkin. Oh, how thick the meat was! Oh,  how the fat, white seeds came tumbling out! Mother said the flesh was  good because it had a nice fine grain.  Mother cut the flesh into small pieces, after she had peeled off the  thick rind.  Then she put the pieces into a large iron pot to boil.  When the girls had seen the pieces disappear into the pot they went to  see what the boys were doing.  Out by the barn they found the boys with a jack-knife, working away at  the other pumpkin. The boys were making a Jack-o’-lantern.  They had cut a round hole in the top of the pumpkin, so as to leave
 the stem for a handle. In this way they could lift out the round piece  like a cover. They dug out all the seeds with their hands, to make it  hollow.  Then they cut a small hole, shaped like a triangle, in the side of the  pumpkin. They bored two round holes, one each side of the triangle.  Below it they cut a funny hole shaped like a new moon.  It looked like a huge grinning face. When the boys had finished it,  they put the pumpkin away in the barn.  Then they all remembered about the pumpkin that was cooking in the  kitchen, so they ran back to the house as fast as they could.  By this time the pumpkin in the pot was done, and mother took it from  the stove. She poured off the water, and then put the cooked pumpkin  into a colander.  While mother was rubbing the soft pumpkin through the colander, the  boys ran off to hunt for eggs. When they came back, mother took eight  of the eggs, and about three pints of the soft pumpkin. She stirred it  very fast, while the children stood around and watched, with open eyes  and mouths. Then she put in milk, and spice, and brown sugar.  Oh, didn’t it look good! The children smacked their lips as each  separate thing went in. Mother gave it all such a beating with her big  spoon that the children said it would be good ever after.  Next came the pie tins lined with soft crust, and last of all the pies  went into the oven.  That night as father and mother sat in front of the fire-place  talking, a strange noise was heard. What could it be? Was it a groan?
 Was somebody hurt? There it was again, again, and again! It came from  the front porch.  Father went to the window and drew aside the curtain. Then they saw  something that made the smaller children shiver, but the older girls  only laughed. The boys were not in the house.  There at the window, staring in and grinning horribly--was--well, what do you suppose? Yes it was the Jack-o’-lantern.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Vocabulary Matching Task


1.     However, things do change: hotels and restaurants come and go, opening hours are notoriously fickle, and prices are extremely _____.
2.     Park rangers have been killed protecting the park from militias and _____ in the last 15 years.
3.     The First World War clearly closes the first period of Esperanto literature, not only because of the war but also because of the _____ of four distinguished authors.
4.     They who never go to the Holy Land in their walks, as they pretend, are indeed were idlers and ______; but they who do go there are saunterers in the good sense, such as I mean.
5.     A more _____ freak of nature this April brought the beach back and people all argued the world have become interested in it mysterious reappearance.
6.     My great-great-grandfather used to blow a _____ on the beach to let the villagers know when the seaweed was washed onto the beach so they could come down and collect it.