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Re: THEORY: irregular conlangs

From:Don Blaheta <dpb@...>
Date:Friday, October 1, 1999, 16:18
Quoth Sally Caves:
> Nik Taylor wrote: > > > > Don Blaheta wrote: > > > but as words pass from "relatively common" to "only sort of > > > common", they tend to re-analyse into regular words, anyway. > > > > Like "wrought", originally the past tense of "work", but now a seperate > > verb. > > I don't think it even functions as a full verb any more. It only > survives in certain expressions as a participle: "wrought iron," > or "she was all wrought up."
I think it might be because the word developed multiple meanings. Nowadays we use "work" just as an intransitive verb, meaning "to exert oneself towards some (frequently externally-imposed purpose)"; you work for somebody, you work at a company, you work on a project. But the word used to have a transitive meaning (as well? instead?) meaning "to shape an object (by hand or with tools) from a raw, rough form into an ordered, structured form". You work iron into fences and such; you work clay into pots and cups. It is this second form that "wrought" still implies: for instance, wrought-iron contrasts with cast-iron (which is simply poured into a shape). -- -=-Don<>-=- A university is what a college becomes when the faculty loses interest in students. -- John Ciardi