History of words

  • Thread starter wolram
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  • #1
wolram
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Main Question or Discussion Point

How did words get there pronounciation, example, once, is not W,once,
knew is not K,new, why is vacuum, not vacume, or vakume?
 

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  • #2
selfAdjoint
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vacuum is a proper third declension Latin noun, stem vacu- nominative singular ending -um. Nominative plural ending -a, hence vacua; dative singular ending -o, hence in vacuo. A reification of the adverb vacuus -a -um meaning empty. In school Latin pronunciation it would be vock-ooo-oom, more casually vack-yoo-um, but vowel glides like that are notoriously elidable, so vack-yoom.
 
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  • #3
wolram
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Thankyou SA, but why is the (k) ie in knowledgeable added to the word,
it seems to have no meaning?
 
  • #4
selfAdjoint
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wolram said:
Thankyou SA, but why is the (k) ie in knowledgeable added to the word,
it seems to have no meaning?

The k used to be pronounced when the word was part of early English (aka Anglo-Saxon). Compare know with Scottish ken and German kennen. The k- I can explain quickly, but the -ow I will have to research. Likewise knife (it was spelled cnif and pronounced k'niff). -ough in so many words was pronounced to rhyme with Scotish loch.
 

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