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Re: CHAT: Does etymology awareness affect your speech?

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  • Alex Fink
    ... [...] ... Oh yeah, I meant to throw in that the OE verbs are cognate too; they re, respectively, old dynamic and causative extensions of a base whose
    Message 1 of 46 , Mar 20, 2013
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      On Wed, 20 Mar 2013 16:42:14 -0700, Padraic Brown <elemtilas@...> wrote:

      > >--- On Wed, 3/20/13, Alex Fink <000024@...> wrote:
      >
      > > From: Alex Fink <000024@...>
      > > On Wed, 20 Mar 2013 13:16:34 -0700,
      > > Padraic Brown <elemtilas@...>
      > > wrote:
      > >
      > > > I was actually considering mentioning learn/learn in
      > > this context, but
      > > > learn = teach is nòt a substitution at all. It's
      > > simply two different
      > > > words that have become pronounced the same:
      > > >
      > > > learn (learn) < O.E. leornian "to get knowledge"
      > > > learn (teach) < O.E. læran "to teach"
      [...]
      > Could be, though there's still the fact that we've got two very similar
      > sounding OE verbs... But I'm no historical linguist!

      Oh yeah, I meant to throw in that the OE verbs are cognate too; they're, respectively, old dynamic and causative extensions of a base whose simplex didn't survive as a verb (outside Gothic), but which also provides the noun "lore", as well as an archaic "list" 'art, cunning, etc.'.

      Wiktionary, which gives the same pair of forms as you do, has a tendency which I think is wrong from the point of view of sorting senses by etymology, as they do: if two formations from the same root in Proto-Germanic, especially a noun and a verb, differ in Old English only in that one has nominal and one has verbal morphology, and then fall together as a zero-derivation pair in modern English, their practice is (often?) to count these as just as different as two homographs which never had anything to do with each other. I think this is unfortunate 'cause it belies the _continuous_ existence of morphological processes in English. It's not as though the verb budded off the noun (or vice versa) and they turned their backs on each other and went their separate ways; their relationship was clear throughout, from the time they diverge up through the time they fall together again.
      "Learn" is not _as_ clean-cut as a case of that, but I still on balance woulda combined them into one entry. "Sense (1) from OE _leornian_, sense (2) from OE _læran_ absorbed in form by sense (1); both ultimately from PGer *lais-."

      > Either way, whatever
      > is going on with learn still isn't the same thing as what's going on with
      > *only* lend/borrow.

      Sure, the particulars of every case are going to be idiosyncratic.

      Alex
    • George Corley
      ... Alright. I will say that borrow for loan is not something that I immediately recognize, and even have the same intuition as you (that the interlocutor
      Message 46 of 46 , Mar 23, 2013
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        On Sat, Mar 23, 2013 at 9:10 AM, Matthew George <matt.msg@...> wrote:

        > On Fri, Mar 22, 2013 at 11:35 PM, George Corley <gacorley@...>
        > wrote:
        >
        > > What exactly are you talking about?
        >
        >
        > The introduction of 'borrow' as a synonym for 'loan'. It's a very
        > different case from the use of 'learn' as you describe.
        >
        > I have no prescriptivist impulses regarding 'learn' - it's the borrow-loan
        > shift that I'm rejecting.
        >

        Alright. I will say that "borrow" for "loan" is not something that I
        immediately recognize, and even have the same intuition as you (that the
        interlocutor is being asked to borrow something on behalf of the speaker).
        Still, it exists and should be accounted for, regardless of whether either
        of us accept it intuitively, and we can easily do by comparing it to a
        pattern that exists cross-linguistically.
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