Episode 98: The Great Debates

Magna Carta is often presented as the culmination of a dispute between King John and his barons, but it didn’t settle the debate. In fact, the charter actually sparked a new debate over the power of the king.  That debate was one of many being held during the early 1200s when the art of debate permeated education, the legal profession, and even poetry.  This period also witnessed the composition of the first major debate poem in Middle English called “The Owl and the Nightingale.”


5 thoughts on “Episode 98: The Great Debates

  1. I would like to congratulate you on successfully completing this episode containing words based on “bate” without getting an “Explicit Content” warning from iTunes!

    (Of course, that word originated in the 17th century, well after the words discussed this week.)

    • Hi Joe. It is interesting that your mind went there. 😉 Out of curiosity, I checked my sources, and none of them make a clear connection between ‘-bate’ and ‘masturbate.’ Here’s what the OED has to say about the issue:

      “The etymology of classical Latin ‘masturbārī’ has been much disputed. The most widely accepted derivation is ‘manus’ (hand) + ‘stuprāre’ (to defile), remodeled after ‘turbāre’ (to disturb).”

      Maybe scholars just don’t want to admit the obvious. 🙂

  2. Again fascinated to see the links between older forms/meanings of English and Danish, which I’ve been learning for a couple of years.

    The Danish verb “tale” means “speak”, so clearly related to the older English meaning of “tale” you discussed in the episode, and to “talk”. And there are other connected Danish words such as “samtale” which means “conversation” (fairly literally it’s “together-speaking”).

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