Have you ever wondered why we can say “unhappy” but not “unsad”? Or what the “-ceive” means in words such as “receive,” “perceive” and “deceive”? We will explore the structure of English words and attempt to answer questions like these.
We will look at the main ways words are formed in English. We will also examine the historical sources of the lexicon and look at how certain words have changed structure and meaning. We’ll see, for example, that while the dissimilar words “salt,” “sausage” and “salary” share a common history, pairs such as “male/female” and “man/human” are not etymologically related. We will also discuss names, ponder what “meaning” really means and decide whether we agree with G.K. Chesterton that “all slang...is poetry.”
Note: Back by popular demand, from spring 2016.
Please note that enrollment in this course is reserved for adults 55+.