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Showing posts from November, 2014

How did Latin words first enter English?

Perhaps surprisingly the Roman occupation of Britain had little initial impact on the development of the English language. Only place names like London, Bath&Chester indicate the official language of the occupiers.
It was with the arrival of Christian missionaries in the 6th and 7th centuries that significant numbers of Latin words began entering the lexicon. Latin wasthe lingua franca or common language of the Christian world, with the mass or servicebeing conducted in Latin. 

Other religious words like abbot, altar, apostle&candlegradually came intocommon use.
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Why are there irregular verbs?

There are thousands of regular verbs (paint, walk) - and less than two hundred irregular verbs. 

Yet it is those awkward irregulars which dominate in spoken in English (see here).

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Grammar Girl has a slightly different take here - and talks about verbs becoming irregular in her most recent podcast.

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