“A” Words

abacinate To blind by putting a hot copper basin near someone’s eyes
abderian Given to incessant or idiotic laughter
abecedarian A person who is learning the alphabet
abligurition Excessive spending on food and drink
accubation The practice of eating or drinking while lying down
adelphepothia An incestuous desire for one’s sister
adelphirexia An incestuous desire for one’s nephew
adelphithymia An incestuous desire for one’s niece
adoxography Skilled writing on an unimportant subject
aeolist A pompous windy bore who pretends to have inspiration
agelast A person who never laughs
agerasia The state of looking younger than one actually is
agraffe The wire that holds the cork in a champagne bottle
algerining Prowling around with the intent to commit burglary
alphamegamia The marriage between a young woman and an older man
anopisthography The practice of writing on one side of the paper
apodyopsis The act of mentally undressing someone
autohagiographer One who speaks or writes in a smug fashion about their own life and accomplishments
autolatry The worship of one’s self
autotonsorialist One who cuts their own hair

A Brief History of English

The language we once called English (now Panglish) is actually a blend of many languages. Even the original Anglo-Saxon was already a blend of the dialects of west Germanic tribes living along the North Sea coast:  The Saxons in Germany and eastern Holland, the Jutes, possibly from northern Denmark, and the Angles, probably living along the coast and on islands between Denmark and Holland.  It is also likely that the invaders included Frisians from northern Holland and northern Franks from southern Holland.  The dialects were close enough for each to understand the other.

Later, in the 800’s AD (Old Calendar), the Vikings came to England, mostly from Denmark, and settled in with the Anglo-Saxons from Yorkshire to Norfolk, an area that became known as the Danelaw.  Others from Norway ruled over the people in the northwest.  The Norse language they spoke resembled Anglo-Saxon in many ways, but was different enough for two things to happen:  One, there were many Old Norse words that entered into English, including even such basic ones as they and them;  And two, the complex conjugations began to wither away as people disagreed about which to use.

William the Conqueror invaded England in 1066.  They had been settled long enough in Normandy in the north of France to adopt a dialect of French.  They brought this Norman French with them to England and kept it as the language of their newly imposed aristocracy.  In the day-to-day need to communicate, the common language became English, but with a large number of French words, and still more withering of grammatical complexities.

English’s closest relatives can be found right across the water in Holland and Germany.  It’s very closest relative is Frisian, spoken in northern Holland and the islands running along the coast from Holland up into Denmark.  Notice some obvious similarities:
English        Frisian        Dutch        German

as             as             als          als
bread          brea           brood        Brot
chaff          tsjêf          kaf          Kaf
cheese         tsiis          kaas         Käse
church         tsjerke        kerk         Kirche
cow            kou            koe          Kuh
day            dei            dag          Tag
dove           dou            duif         Taube
dream          dream          droom        Traum
ear            ear            oor          Ohr
flea           flie           vlo          Floh
flown          flein          gevlogen     geflogen
fly            fleane         vliegen      fliegen
goose          goes           gans         Gans
great          great          groot        gross
ground         groun          grond        Grund
hail           heil           hagel        Hagel
head           haed           hooft        Haupt
heap           heap           hoop         Haufe
hear           hear           hoor         Hören
him            him            hem          ihm
is             is             is           ist
it             it             het          es
lain           lein           gelegen      gelegen
lay            lei            lag          lag
nail           neil           nagel        Nagel
need           noot           noot         Not
nose           noas           neus         Nase
rain           rein           regen        Regen
salt           sâlt           zout         Salz
say            sei            zeg          sag
seed           sied           zaad         Saat
sleep          sliepe         slaap        schlaff
soft           sêft           zacht        sanft
think          tinke          denken       denken
thought        tocht          dacht        dachte
through        troch          door         durch
thumb          tomme          duim         Daum
to             to             toe          zu
Tuesday        tiisdei        dinsdag      Dienstag
under          ûnder          onder        unter
us             ús             ons          uns
way            wei            weg          Weg
yesterday      juster         gisteren     gestern

The grammar of English is perhaps the most interesting story:  It went from a typical old Indo-European language, with many complex and irregular verb conjugations and noun declensions, to arguably the most isolating Indo-European language to date.

By the 1700’s AD modern English only really had six grammatical affixes left:  -s for plural nouns, -‘s for genitive nouns, -s for third person singular verbs, -ed for the past tense, -ed the past participle, and -ing for the present participle, and remained relatively unchanged until the 2000’s AD and the advent of mass communication.

Mass media and abbreviation within communication is thought to be the primary reason behind the current loss of language in modern society, however, this theory has not been proven and is highly disputed amongst scholars. Never in the history of the English language has the basic structure been altered as much in such a short period of time. By the year 2035 AD, about 60% of words used in English had been lost to all except those in academia, and by 2040 AD only the most basic words were in general public use.