15 thoughts on “Bonus Episode 1

  1. In Old English the word OE cild was pronounced with a short i. Due to the homorganic consonant group “ld”, the short i was lengthened to a long i. The Great Vowel Shift only affected long vowels. So that the long i shifted to /ai/.
    In the word children, this did not happen, because of its syllables. The syllables for children are chil – dren. Therefore, there was no homorganic consonant group in the first syllable. Therefore, the vowel was not lengthened and was as a result not affected by the GVS.

  2. I got my Master’s in Sociolinguistics at NCSU – Walt and everyone there is so great! I thought I detected a slight NC accent like mine in your speech. 🙂 I have been trying to keep myself immersed in linguistic-related blogs and podcasts since I am no longer in academia, and I am so glad to have come across your in-depth podcast. I always felt it was a incomplete how most history of English courses start at Anglo-Saxon, so this has been a great look at PIE, which also provides the context for many of the later borrowings which you mentioned. Awesome job! Can’t wait to keep learning more.

    • Thanks Meghan! Glad to have an NCSU listener onboard. One of my favorite courses there was “Language and Culture” taught by Walt. That was way back in the late 80s (believe it or not). That course was one of the inspirations for this podcast. I hope you continue to enjoy the podcast!

      • I just discovered the podcast. I was very excited about it, too! I also had a class called “language and culture,” at Pitzer College, about 1969. Always loved language, Chaucer, and medieval studies. I’m 68 and still learn every day. One thing mentioned above is your accent. I’m a Phoenix, AZ Native & have lived here most of my life, in fact, am Third generation. Why do some people, like you and Michelle Obama, pronounce the str combination as shtr, as in “shtraight” for “straight” ? You also have more of a dd for tt in middle of words. I say “an ‘istorian” and occasionally “fer” instead of “for,” but never for “four.” Accents are most interesting! How Did British/American/Australian/New Zealand/S African accents change so?
        Thanks for the podcast!

        • Hi Lucia. Thanks for the comments. With regard to my pronunciations, it is just my native accent. I have less of an accent today than I had when I was younger. Compared to some of my other family member, my accent is quite mild. I intend to discuss the evolution of Modern English accents in some detail when I get to the Modern English period.

          • Thanks! And I’m glad there are still accents. It’s still possible around here to pick out the local Mormon and Cowboy accents for us urban dwellers.
            And those of us who majored in “impractical” subjects because of a love of learning… we’re so grateful for your podcast. It’s like a Gentle Rain dropping on our Sahara of the Bozarts (to mix authors and centuries).

  3. Hi Kevin, Many, many thanks for these podcasts and for making them available in such a simple and easily used format on this website. I’ve only just found them (now that I am retired and have time for fun), but they have been a blessing as I pace my veranda staring at the drought-blasted Queensland landscape. I was a bit surprised to learn your profession, but I guess you are carrying on in the William Jones tradition (and I will need to modify my usual Shakespearean ranting to except philologists). Anyway, your podcasts are superb and thanks.

    • Thanks! Yes, I am an attorney, so my approach to the topic isn’t the typical academic approach. I’m glad you’re enjoying it.

  4. I am a new listener and enjoying your podcasts.

    You talk about child and children, here in the North of England the plural of child, in the local dialect, is Childer. The Dutch add en to a word to make a plural so you could say that children, as pronounced, is a double plural – childeren. Very confusing. How did it happen.

    • The etymonline.com entry for “child” provides the answer:

      “The difficulty with the plural began in Old English, where the nominative plural was at first ‘cild’, identical with the singular, then c.975 a plural form ‘cildru’ (genitive ‘cildra’) arose, probably for clarity’s sake, only to be re-pluraled late 12c. as ‘children’, which is thus a double plural. Middle English plural ‘cildre’ survives in Lancashire dialect ‘childer’ and in ‘Childermas’.”

      • As a mom, pluralizing the plural of child makes a certain overwhelmed-by-kids sense. In casual conversation people do play with words, often when talking with their children… I have said things like “toeses” and “kidses” myself… Maybe someone did that to cildru and it caught on?

  5. Some people postulate that Basque is the only survivor from a large family of languages that were spoken over Europe before the Indo-European invasion.

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