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The language of leubh

Posted by Jan Freeman, keep until April  February 14, 2007 02:26 PM

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In a New York Sun article today, linguist John McWhorter uses the history of love -- the word, not the phenomenon -- to illustrate the way today's "mistakes" may morph into "simply tomorrow's version of the language."

Love was [used] as a noun, but quickly started being used as a verb as well. That is, when you say, "I love you" to someone, you are using a word that began as a noun just as fax, interface, and green-light did.

And long before that, the word's spelling and pronunciation had been evolving. Leubh is the root of love and believe, but

people started "mispronouncing" leubh just as you-know-who pronounces nuclear as nucular. But the planet keeps spinning and we have no sense that the "proper" pronunciation of belief is "beleubh." It was the same with the transformation of leubh into love. Every time we say love or belief, we are, technically, mispronouncing leubh!
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