“Why does ‘walk’ have an ‘l’ in it?”

That question of Lyddie’s yesterday led first to the dictionary, then to Wiktionary and ended up with Shakespeare and Milton!

Here’s how:

The second question was “What’s Old English and why is it different to the new kind?”

So we explained how language evolves and that this was why, for example, some of the words and phrases in our current bedtime story Peter Pan, sound a bit strange to her.

And then we got to talking about the different origins and influences in the English language, and some of the political events that made the changes. We experimented with a few words, trying to guess the roots of them then checking to see if we were right.

Lyddie was interested to know what words had appeared or changed since I was a child. I could think of ‘texting’, ‘DVD’, ‘Internet’, ’email’ and others to do with technological development. I struggled to think of ones that had evolved due to other factors, although I suppose any kind of Leet would be an example of that. Then I realised the term ‘home education’ wasn’t even used when I was a child! At least, not in the way it now is. (Of course the older offspring added a few to the list, like ‘house’, ‘road’ and ‘car’! 🙄 )

Finally, just before she’d heard enough about the subject, we read some Shakespeare and Milton out loud – just a few lines of each, and she was quite shocked to hear how our language has changed almost beyond recognition in the past few hundred years. I’m thinking of getting this to follow on with. Am wondering if anyone’s seen it?



Filed under Curiosity - a delicate flower, Natural learning - how it works, Reading

2 responses to ““Why does ‘walk’ have an ‘l’ in it?”

  1. lorena

    this is a great example of HE. Have a look around the OU, they had a good course on the history of the english language, though I think it’s stopped now; but they’re putting so much material online, for free, that even if it’s not a current course, they may still put up some of the material.

  2. Thanks Lorena 🙂

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