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The Australian National University

Spelling change

  1. What is a newt?  Where does the word come from? What was its original spelling?
  2. What does your dictionary tell you about the origin of the word nickname? What did the word eke mean in the Old English period (see ‘How to use this Dictionary’ p. vii ‘9 Etymology’ for an explanation of ‘Old English’)? Eke in the sense ‘addition, also’ is now archaic, but your dictionary asks you to compare with eke. At eke the verb given is eke out. What does this mean? How do you think it is related to the archaic sense of eke?   
  3. Look up the word umpire. This is a borrowing from French. How was the word spelt in French?  Why do you think we spell it this way in English?
  4. Look up the word apron. This is a borrowing from French. How was the word spelt in French?  Why do you think we spell it this way in English?
  5. Look up the word adder. How was this spelt in the Old English period?  Why did it change to adder?
  6. Sum up what this exercise has taught you about the way words can change their spelling.

Updated: 19 October 2010/ Responsible Officer:  Centre Director / Page Contact:  Web Publisher