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Day: December 23, 2015
Why does the word ‘correlation’ have two r’s?
The Latin prefix for “with” was con-, but like other Latin prefixes, its final consonant changed to match the following consonant. So com-pare, col-late, cor-rupt. The prefix in- does the same: im-port, il-literate, ir-relevant. Now, another variant of con- was co-, before h and vowels: co-herent, co-agulate. English generalised this version of the prefix into […]
Spelling: Why can’t we officially remove silent letters from English words and otherwise make English more consistent?
It’s not just that the words came from languages where the silent letters used to be pronounced. It’s also that silent letters were reintroduced by pedants, to remind people of the languages they came from, though they had long since passed out of pronunciation. Latin debitum went to French and Middle English dette (via *debte). […]