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Dr. Goodword
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Postby Dr. Goodword » Thu Mar 28, 2013 8:16 pm

• ceilidh •

Pronunciation: kay-li • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: (Scotland and Ireland) A social gathering, especially one at which hosts and guests participate in traditional music, dancing, or storytelling?or a professional ceilidh band might be hired for the event.

Notes: Today's word is clearly a Celtic one adapted for use in Ireland, Scotland, and northern England. If you thought the English spelling system is tough, you apparently haven't encountered a Gaelic language. It has no relatives in English, so all we have to worry about is the pronunciation: it sounds like Kay Lee with the accent on the first syllable.

In Play: A ceilidh today is usually a party organized around folk music or folklore: "We're having a wee ceilidh at the house this weekend; would you mind telling your brother that he's invited?" However, it still may be a gathering, usually around a fire, at which the participants exchange stories: "Everyone at this quiet country ceilidh had a good story to tell about someone who wasn't there."

Word History: Irish Gaelic céilidhe is from Old Irish célide "visit" from céile or céle "companion". The English spelling follows the Scottish. The stem here developed from Proto-Indo-European kei- "beloved, dear" and also "bed, couch". The suffixed Proto-Indo-European form, kei-wi, lies at the bottom of city, civic, and civil. All these words are the lexical progeny of Latin civis "citizen", probably originally referring to a member of a household. In Sanskrit, this stem became the name Shiva, one of the three figures in the Supreme Trinity of Hinduism, from Sanskrit s'iva- "auspicious, dear".
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Perry Lassiter
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Postby Perry Lassiter » Fri Mar 29, 2013 12:40 am

Why did people bother to include silent knights (nites) if they weren't supposed to be pronounced? I understand a bit of etymology, but this stuff was spoken before it was written. So why didn't they write simply when they first began to transcribe it?

Philip Hudson
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Postby Philip Hudson » Fri Mar 29, 2013 1:32 am

The k in knight was pronounced when it was first written. It is still pronounced in German. Phonetic spelling might be nice. If night and knight were both spelled nite (or better niet) we would have difficulty discerning them when we read them. We already have difficulty telling them apart when we say them. Spelling reform is almost impossible. I don't recommend it except as a slow process. Americans have reformed theatre to theater, but we still know the other spelling.

I do not know much about spelling in Gaelic languages.
It is dark at night, but the Sun will come up and then we can see.

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Postby LukeJavan8 » Fri Mar 29, 2013 11:40 am

Reforming English to American: we have dropped
the "u" in humor, tumor, honor, et. al.

I like the word of the day. Has a nice sound to it.
-----please, draw me a sheep-----

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