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Etymology gleanings for March 2020

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Should it be business as usual with the Oxford Etymologist? Closing the blog until better days will probably not benefit anybody. The terrain is like a minefield, but I’ll continue gleaning. In reply to a complaint, I want to remind our correspondents that comments are posted in New York, and, if something falls between the cracks, the reason may be only an occasional computer glitch. Please resend your comments. By contrast, I do not react to everything I receive. Sometimes I have nothing to say. For instance, I have read a good deal about the Silk Road and told what I know about it in the previous posts. Rehashing the same information would be counterproductive. Yet I don’t believe that silk or Silk Road has anything to do with Engl. side ~ German Seite. I also suggest that those who have difficult questions post them as comments rather than writing me personally, because comments are seen by many, and someone may know a good answer. Here are three examples of such questions. 1) “Do you know any other word or place name that relied on the accented syllable surviving, as is shown in Milan from Mediolanum?” I am out of my depth here and appeal to Romance scholars in Italy and elsewhere. The change from Mediolanum to Milano seemed to have happened on the basis of both Latin and the Italic languages of Italy, but we need details and analogs. 2) Why does it seem that, at least in English, we have an abundance of words for things very large and very small, but barely any words for things of medium size? I wrote to our correspondent and asked for examples. He did not respond. Yet perhaps someone is also interested in such matters and has an opinion. 3) Mr. Nathan Paige has been working on a list of words similar and, according to him, related in Chinese and English. The examples I examined struck me as relatively unconvincing, but I know nothing about Chinese and will refrain from further comment. Still at the cutting edge Where is the golden mean? Image from A. . .

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News source: Linguistics – OUPblog

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