Speaking of Words: Grammaticalization

This rather alarming word does not refer to what might happen to pupils who go to grammar school but to a simple concept in linguistics that goes a long way toward explaining how languages change over time. 

Speaking of Words: What is the Oldest Language?

They were created knowing some language or other, apparently, but the odd thing is that God seemed not to know it, or not very well, for after he created Adam he brought all the beasts and birds to him “to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.”

What is a Word?

Is “ish” a word?  Until recently it was only a suffix, first attached to national names (“English, Swedish”), then to various nouns (“selfish, childish”), and then to almost any short adjective, meaning “sort of” or “in a way” (“brownish, youngish”). 

Words on Holiday

A Conservative back-bencher named Sir Thomas Massey-Massey rose to propose that the name of the holiday be changed to “Christtide.”