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Full text of "The Loom Of Language"

How to Learn the Basic Word List      225
man (p. 232). If we apply this rule Ted becomes deil, which means the
same as the Swedish-Danish del, with the corresponding derivative
verbs dela (Swedish) or dele (Danish) In its new form it recalls our
words dell and deal. The Oxford Dictionary tells us that the latter
comes from Old English dcel, which also meant a part, and to deal
cards stall means to divide the pack into parts, to share or distribute
them The word dell (or dale) has no connexion with this root. It has
the same meaning as the Swedish-Danish dal, German Tal, and Dutch
dal, for valley
If you follow this plan, you can introduce an element of adventure
into memorizing a vocabulary, and incidentally learn more about the
correct use of English words It may be helpful to look up some of the
unusual words in the Canterbury Tales, or the Faerie Queene For
instance, the smaller Oxford Dictionary tells us that the Chaucerian
eke means also, and compares it with the contemporary Dutch (ooK)
and German (aucti) equivalents The Swedish for also is och or ocksd
You can also compare the Middle English eke with the Swedish och and
Danish og for our link-word and, which we can sometimes replace
by also
An example which lUustrateb how to make associations for memor-
izing words of Romance origin is hospitable. The Oxford Dictionary
tells us that this comes from the Latin verb hospitare (to entertain) The
related word hospite meant either guest or host, and it has survived as
the latter Another related Latin word is hospitale, a place for guests,
later for travellers This was the original mearung of hospital, and
survives as such in Knights Hospitallers. In Old French it appears
shortened to hostel, which exists in English In modern French 5 before
t or p has often disappeared. That it was once there, is indicated by a
circumflex accent (*) over the preceding vowel, as in hotel The French
words hote, hdtesse, hotel, hopital, resolve themselves into their English
equivalents when we apply this rule Hostelry, hospice, and hospitality
obviously share the same lineage. A host of other similarities come to
life if we are familiar with another sound-change When an accented e
precedes t, p, or c at the beginning of a modern French word it often
takes the place of the Latin s in English words of Romance origin Thus
etat (state), etranger (stranger, foreigner), etoffe (stuff), Sponge (sponge),
Spouse (spouse, wife), Spicier (groceróman who sells spices}, and ecole
(school} come to life if we know this
Even when there is no precise English equivalent containing the
same root as a word in one of the Romance languages, we can usually
H