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[The English Language] Etymology, Words, Phrases, Dialects and other fascinating things
I find language to be fascinating. Specifically, the English language, which is much like the Borg of Star Trek. It assimilates and makes other words its own, adapting and changing all the time. I took a class in college called "American English" which was probably my most favorite class ever. The class was about the language itself. Word history. Dialects. Slang. Regional sayings, phrases, and pronunciations. It was a fun class just to learn random trivia about words.
I've wanted to make this thread for a while. A thread where we can discuss all things related to the English Language. Does a certain phrase confuse you? Want to discuss its meaning with other people on the internet? Lets use this as a place to have an intelligent conversation about words.
There's also a thing called the Oxford English Dictionary, or OED for short, which is one of my favorite books/resources of all time. Unfortunately the website requires paid membership to access it. While I was a student, I had the privilege of a free paid membership. I used the hell out of it. Being able to look up a word, find out things such as the earliest recorded usage of the word, its various definitions, with dates of when that definition came into existence, and all sorts of other things is just the best. Simply the best.
I had a conversation just tonight with a friend, who stated that she was "plum tired." I've heard the phrase before, but I decided to google it and see what I could learn. It turns out, its actually spelled "plumb" and as best as I can tell, the phrase itself uses the word plumb as an intensifier of sorts. A plumb-line is a tool used to measure the depth of something. Another phrase, "plumb deep" means something is really deep. And from there, as best as I can tell, "plumb" evolved into a word which is basically synonymous with "really." Crazy how something can originate as a metaphor and turn into an accepted figure of speech.
On the topic of figures of speech, one major difference between American English and British English (other than the accent/pronunciation) is all of the figures of speech we use in our daily conversations. In America, we use TONS of baseball metaphors. "Knock it out of the park" "Swing for the fences" "Getting to third base" etc. I personally am not much of a baseball fan, but I still will occasionally find myself using phrases which originated in the game, simply because its an accepted cultural way of talking. Its been socially bred into me.
So anyway, enough rambling for this OP. Lets talk about words!