As writers we all appreciate that the English language is in a constant state of change. We maybe think that this change comes about gradually over decades or centuries. But it is apparent, now that we have the busy frantic world of cyberspace to contend with, the changes are in fact very rapid; or has it become more rapid because of cyberspace?
I have been intrigued, in the last year, over some of the language, which I still use on an everyday basis, which is considered obsolete and archaic. Especially by editor software programs. Some of you will remember the consternation I suffered on finding that the word ‘founder’ was misunderstood by so many of you. Used, in the way that I wished it to be understood, it meant something foundering on an immovable and deadly obstacle, such as a ship foundering upon the rocks. But so many people only knew the word meaning somebody who began something as in, someone who foundered a university. This would of course turn my sentence into total nonsense. Some of you did, of course, still know the other meaning of this and that founder is not yet an obsolete word. And I only had to change the order of the words for the meaning to become clearer.
Then quite recently somebody was asking if there was any suggestions for a new word for friends who were closer than kin. We know our kin, they are our blood relatives. Unfortunately we don’t always like them that much. And friends can become very important. Very close friends, more important than kin whom we don’t like very much. When I was growing up they were kith.As in kith and kin.
I was intrigued and went to the dictionary, to find out that kith is considered obsolete and is only known because it goes with kith and kin. I have always used it for my very close friends. Investigating further I discovered that originally it meant
Kith: knowledge, know, familiar country, friends and acquaintances.
The whole ‘kith and kin’ expression originally meant native land and people.
So maybe we do a new word to describe very close friends who are closer than the kin we don’t like very much.
About 12 months ago I followed a discussion online about the word ‘quick’. There was a teacher reporting that her children had asked what quick meant in the expression ‘quick and the dead’. She didn’t know, and neither did any of her many followers. I ascertained that she was far younger than I was, most people on cyberspace are I have to say. But it amazed me that they didn’t know the expression. You do not have to follow the teachings of Christianity I would have thought to know the expression. (It is in the Book of Common Prayer and it is mentioned at least 3 times in the Bible.) We were taught the Bible as part of our education when I was a child, not just for religious reasons but because it is one of England’s finest pieces of literature. Well, when I was a child, the King James’s version of it was considered to be so. In the same vein as Shakespeare. Many, many, of our expressions, proverbs and sayings originate from this version. So many quotes, illusions and references, drawn from this work, enrich our other literature
So I’m thinking, okay the powers that be decided we were all too stupid to understand the King James’s version of archaic English, despite its richness and beauty and the fact that many centuries of us had managed to learn what it all meant! And brought various new versions out since then, maybe they don’t say the ‘quick and the dead’ any more, but, what about biting your nails down to the ‘quick’- has that also vanished? We do still say ‘quicksand’ and ‘quicklime’ – well I think we do. Do people bother to question why quick are in any of those? It can’t mean just fast, speedy, it would make no sense; you are sucked down by quicksand it is not fast and speedy, you are slowly consumed.
So what does quick in the ‘quick and the dead’ actually mean.
The ‘quick and the dead’ originally meant all souls alive or dead. Jesus is supposed to be able to judge the quick and the dead when the day of judgement comes.
This is because the original meaning of quick meant
endowed with life or alive, so quick meant alive.
The alive and the dead. In the old days, no not when I was growing up:) a woman would ‘quicken’, which was when they first felt their baby move in the womb.
Quicksand is quicksand because the sand appears to move and was deemed to have a life of its own. Quicklime bubbles therefore it has a life of its own. And when you bite your nails ‘down to the quick’, you are biting them down to the tender, very sensitive part under the nail, which is ‘alive’ as opposed to the dead part that is the nail. In the dictionary ‘quick’ in this alive sense is referred to as archaic.
Maybe some of you reading this also did not know that it meant alive and also think the only meaning of it is fast and speedy. It is going the same way as founder (meaning to come to grief on something sharp like rocks.) Probably before I cast off my mortal coil, kith, quick and founder will have vanished. Along with many others that I have discovered while I’ve been up here listening to the chatter of the web.
What makes one word leave us and one stay? – we all know dead, kin and the founder of an institution. Why did the others fold their tents in the night?
I’m not complaining, well not very much! Because I do like the fact that English changes all the time and many of the new words coming in I have gathered to my self with great glee, much to the disgust sometimes, of my friend from forever/editor. I have to confess to a little sadness at losing some of them. But hey, if English is to be a ‘quick’ language as opposed to a ‘dead’ one, we have to put up with these things.
I have achieved wondrous word counts this week but very little else. I have to go back for some more tests for this old ticker of mine and in the meantime the doctor has given me some new pills. Which haven’t yet kicked in. So my energy is way, way down.
Last week I waxed lyrical about my Dragon, my new bestest friend. And this week, because of my new friend, I have managed to finish another four short stories for my folktale book. An amazing 16,000 words:)
This was accomplished in four one hour sessions over two days. The only two days I had the energy to write anything. I couldn’t have managed this word count if I had been feeling well, not in two days, so I am well pleased. It means word count wise I am well on track.
I have this time around completed the music of a new trailer before I even have the storyboard, but the music has inspired the storyboard. And I have been playing with layering and pasting the photographs, so the trailer for The Storyteller’s Tale is progressing well. This was also something I could do sitting in the armchair without too much effort.
I have been absent a lot from places like Facebook and Goodreads, only just managing to keep up with Triberr, I feel as I have committed myself to these tribes I do have to do those as often as possible.
I am managing to keep up with the garden, 30 mins a day and walking the dog for the same, so I am getting fresh air sunshine and exercise which I know is doing me good even if I don’t appreciate it:(
I will have to start editing the short stories, and write two more.
I would like to get back to posting, reviews, depends on these new pills.
I would like to write more of Ancestors Tale and possibly edit some more Blue Moon, which might be possible now that I’m so far advanced on the folktales.
I do hope everybody has had a good week, and that the coming week will be all that they wish. Keep smiling everyone.