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Dr. Goodword
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Postby Dr. Goodword » Thu Jul 12, 2018 10:20 pm

• folk •

Pronunciation: fowk • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: 1. People in general, ordinary people: 'folk hero', 'folklore'. 2. (Plural) Parents or members of the wider family: 'My folks won't let me go. What do your folks say?'

Notes: L is pronounced [w] before K in other words, too: milk, talk, welcome. This word is almost slang; it is folksy itself. Folksy is the most often used adjective from today's word, though folkish is out there somewhere.

In Play: The first sense of this word is an informal, almost slang way of saying people: "Folks around here don't like such carryings-on." Since we had an example of folk referring to the parents in the Meaning, let's try one about the broader family: "My folks back home are happy without me and I'm happier without them!"

Word History: Today's Good Word seems to be an authentic (Germanic) English word, not a borrowing. We find it in several other Germanic languages, like Dutch volk, German Volk, Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish folk. The going theory is that all these words derive from PIE plê-go- "abundance, multitude" based on pelê-/polê/plê- "to fill" + go-, a noun suffix. If so, this would relate it to Russian polnyi "full", German voll "full", and English full—all of which derive from the same root. Some etymologists for good reason have associated it with Latin vulgus "common people, hoi poloi", though the connection is hard to make. The [v] and [g] are voiced variants of [f] and [k], separated only by vibration of the vocal cords. This would suggest a borrowing from some Germanic tribe, say, the Franks, a perennial enemy of the Romans. Were the Romans to have borrowed the Frankish word for "people", it would probably be a pejorative term in Latin. (Let's now thank Tomasz Kowaltowski for suggesting today's fascinating Good Word.)
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Re: Folk

Postby LukeJavan8 » Fri Jul 13, 2018 12:05 pm

and the German "volkommen' is 'welcome"?
-----please, draw me a sheep-----

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Re: Folk

Postby Clive » Mon Jul 23, 2018 2:54 am

I am a regular reader of this site and have learnt a lot about words.
However, in good English, surely 'milk' and 'welcome' must include the 'l' sound.

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Re: Folk

Postby George Kovac » Mon Jul 23, 2018 5:17 pm

I might be climbing out on a limb here, but, without a doubt, many of us often balk at folks who don’t say all the consonants in words like milk, welcome, handsome, Wednesday, sandwich and pumpkin. Comb through any dictionary for miscellaneous examples and make a column of them; not all are foreign words that just walked into our language. I acknowledge that such pronunciations are benighted and dumb, or at least untoward. They make me bristle through and through. Try to stay calm. It might feel awkward, but sigh, clutch your handkerchief and subtly give a thumbs down to anyone who would talk like that, even if she’s your daughter. :D
“The messy layers of human experience get pulled together, and sometimes ordered, by words.” Colum McCann “But Always Meeting Ourselves” New York Times, June 15, 2009

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