Tag Archives: English

Playing with language

7 Jun


Bosom, breast, hell.

Titters erupted as each of these words were uttered as we began our study of A Midsummer Night’s DreamNot everyone laughed. Some remained quiet, but eyes grew large. You could see the wheels turning behind those eyes, wondering if these were bad words.  I almost laughed as I interrupted two girls arguing over whether or not virgin was a cuss word. Really???

Words have changed meaning within my lifetime. When I was young we didn’t wear flip flops, we wore thongs, but I never use that term because it has taken on a whole new meaning.

Several years ago, I was discussing My Side of the Mountain with a lit circle. They giggled when Jean Craighead George wrote about the crotch of a tree. They only knew one meaning of the word crotch and it was another unmentionable.

I recently learned that troll no longer refers to a mythical being or a person who sows discord on the Internet. It is also an adjective for a bad thing, as in  That test was really troll. Who knew? There are fairies in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, but no trolls.  The closest thing to a troll in Shakespeare, is Caliban from The Tempest. I wonder what Will would make of these evolutions of the English language?



A little linguistic fun: A Slice of Life Story

6 Oct


Ah, the Humanities.

Last week we started our year long study of Latin stems. Additionally, we did a jigsaw activity about Populism. Before we could start the activity, though, I thought I’d connect the two.

I opened the lesson by writing pop=people on the board and explained that it  was a stem we’d meet later but tied into that day’s lesson. Naturally, I asked kids for other words they knew that had “pop” in it. I got the expected responses: population, popular. Then someone asked, “What about popcorn?”. We all knew they were trying to be funny.

All eyes looked at me. I replied, as they expected, “That one doesn’t work because that comes from the verb “pop” which is not from Latin.” I paused and thought a bit, then added, “However, it could apply because popcorn is the snack of the people!”



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