Thursday, April 22, 2010

Language Lessons

"Inspired words form a man who knows how to ski."

But seriously, I pay attention to things like this, and then I make small notes to myself, which I then find lying all over, so even though I've blogged about some of these words before, I'm still including them here in an attempt to clean up my desk's "incoming mail" box (which is really just a junk box). These words are those that change stress or pronunciation when used as different parts of speech.

coordinate (noun) -- co-ORD-i-net

coordinate (verb) -- co-ORD-i-nate

We need to coordinate when we type in the coordinate.

subject (noun) -- SUB-ject

subject (verb) -- sub-JECT

I would like to subject you to further blog posts on this subject.

permit (noun) -- PER-mit

permit (verb) -- per-MIT

My parents will not permit me to drive without my learner's permit.

proceed (noun) -- PRO-ceed

proceed (verb) -- pro-CEED

You should proceed to give the unsuccessful fundraiser's lone proceed to charity.

alternate (noun) -- AL-ter-net

alternate (verb) -- AL-ter-nate

Since both team members were named as alternate, they will alternate.

present (noun) -- PRE-sent

present (verb) -- pre-SENT

I will present you with a present.

object (noun) -- OB-ject

object (verb) -- ob-JECT

I object to that object.

Aside from the two that end in "-ate," they all have stressed first syllables when nouns and stressed last syllables when verbs.

One that isn't a noun/verb change is the noun/adjective change of the word "invalid." The invalid had an invalid hall pass. If you come across any others, I'd be more than happy to hear about them.

While I'm at it, I'm also fascinated by the words "prophesy" and "prophecy." The difference is the pronunciation of the final VOWEL noise, but the spelling change is the final CONSONANT. Those two consonants, though, are pronounced the same in both words.

Also of note is the word "polish," which changes pronunciation when the first letter is capitalized. Totally nuts.

Finally, I have a question for you. My great-uncle was named Theodore, and as a nickname people would just call him by the first syllable of that name. However, in English we no longer have separate letters for the voiced and unvoiced "TH" noises (voiced: "eth" đ; unvoiced: "thorn" þ), so there is no way to spell this name. THE and THEE are already used for words with voiced "TH" sounds. So how would you spell that if it were your name? (If it were me, I would totally start rockin' the thorn again, and since it's now my youngest son's middle name, I might get to live vicariously through him.)


Cristin said...

That's a tough question. Um, I would say just don't ever write out your nickname. If the name is written, write Theodore.

Gayle said...

Project and project (noun, verb)