Sunday, 28 June 2009

Mixing up the mordant and thinking about language

While mixing up the mordant I was thinking about the changes of language over time - the layers of language and words lost. Nick Pearson's email about layers of words and words lost, new words invented.... compressed words.

When studying Linguistics at Uni some years ago I remember that I looked at the stuff about Old English replacing a Celtish language, then Middle English, the major vowel shift/change where they shortened, then Modern English... Words were lost, new words were imported from other languages, the words for animals and meat got separated beef and cow, pig and pork....

Could the words from different times be trapped or compressed in the rock.. Which words should I choose? Beowulf, Chaucer, Shakespeare? Then later more modern words including very recent ones like "dongle"?

Phonetics was also interesting.. listening to people making sounds and watching large, live pics of people pronouncing words and writing down the phonetic transcription... but that's a different track.

I need to try something out...