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Speech Tip for You: Why Does English have 2 or 3 Words for the Same Thing

FOR MONDAY, AUGUST 10, 2020 Speech Tip via Word Press

Speech Tip for You: Why Does English have 2 or 3 Words for the Same Thing

Have you noticed that English often has two or three words for the same thing?.  These different words allow us to express ideas with different degrees of formality.  For example “help” is an English root, “aid” comes from French, “assist” is from Latin.

The adage says: If you know the “why”, you know the “how.”   In this case a little knowledge of history will help you choose the best word for you and for the circumstance.

English started out as a kind of German which added to the form of Celtic languagea spoken on the island England. Then came another set of invaders in the 9th century  who spoke another Germanic offshoot, Old Norse.  Intermarriage meant the people came to speak a modified or changed Old English. 

After the Norse came the French.  The Normans, who were descended from the Vikings, conquered England and ruled for several centuries.  That meant English picked up 10,000 new words.

Then starting in the 16th century, there was a movement to develop English as a vehicle for complex and sophisticated writing.  Notably, at that time, it became popular to pick words from Latin to give the language more prestige and  to make it more high class.

At this time English acquired such words as crucified, fundamental, definition, and conclusion.

From then on, English had thousands of new words competing with native English words for the same things.  One result was multiple words which allowed people to express ideas with different degrees of formality. 

Thus, “kingly” is English, “royal” is French, “regal” is Latin.

“Begin” is English, “commence” is French.

“Want” is English, “desire” is French.

This double vocabulary is especially common for culinary/food vocabulary.

For example, we kill a “cow” or a “pig” (English).  From that we cook “beef” or “pork” (French).

Why the two words for food?  It’s from division of labor in Norman England.   That is, English-speaking laborers did the slaughtering or killing for the wealthier French speakers.

Here is something important for we people in the 21st century.  Latin came to be designated by scientists, people of medicine, and the law to be the basis for each profession’s or discipline’s new vocabulary.  Thus the new terms or word were made from Latin words or syllables for prefixes, suffixes and root words. 

For more detail, go to blog.published Aug. 6, 2020 in the www.ClearTalkMastery.com  website

And here’s our speech tutorial for the word “procedure” , which has  a prefix, suffix and root or stem from  Latin. This Speech tip #66  for Clear Talk Mastery on You Tube  is also on YouTube with  80 other little speech tutorials.

-Website Speech Tip 08/10/2020   copyright 2020 Clear Talk Mastery, Inc

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