Crystal is … especially good on the Middle Ages. When printing came to Britain in 1400, English was a merry old mess. Choices had to be made, he says, and typesetters were often the ones making them. “If a line of type was a bit short on the page, well, just add an -e to a few words.” And if it was too long? Just “take out some e’s.”
Latin scholars, meanwhile, tried to help by adding silent letters to show where words came from. Thus “debt” acquired its “b” (from the Latin debitum), “island” its “s” (from insula) and “people” its “o” (from populus). Thanks, fellas.
- Rhyme vs reason
Restif de la Bretonne goes one step beyond Shakespeare and says that poetry is the language of Gods and beasts, and
- Worst ever Spanish covers of English-language songs?
I haven’t talked to any of the perpetrators, but I have little doubt that the principal cause of what we regard
- Give peas a chance
The European constitution, Fabaceae, and a country churchyard elegy.
- New translation of Jünger Der Waldgang
With a brief roundup of the First World War.
- The Hispanic Orthography Files, continued
Plus a zarzuela/politics RFI.