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Old October 4 2012, 03:31 PM   #14
thestrangequark
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Re: Changing Language Usage

Frau Blucher wrote: View Post
thestrangledcorpse wrote: View Post

As for language changing, that's just the way of things. Sometimes it changes out of trendiness, sometimes out of force, sometimes out of necessity. Sometimes the changes enrich the language and sometimes they detract from it. I think my favorite example of this is the evolution in the meaning of the word 'nice.' In Chaucer's day it meant pretty much the opposite of what it means now; 'nice' to Chaucer meant unpleasant and overbearing. It evolved from there to mean strict, austere, and orderly -- from there it came to mean clean and neat -- and from there it evolved to our current definition.

I also read once that the word 'ask' was originally pronounced 'ax'.
Nice as an adjective either meant foolish in ME or, as Chaucer used it to mean precise and punctilious.
Interesting, may I ask your resource? Mine was a Linguistics text...though I'll readily admit it's been awhile since I studied linguistics, I don't think I misremembered that particular progression of meaning.

Ask is from OE áscian so the 's' came first except in later dialects.
I know I read that particular tidbit in a Wikipedia article, so I won't defend its accuracy!
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