On the Origins of (Some) English Words and Names

I’ve always been interested in where words come from, such as door. To me, the word door seems like a word created from nothing — and maybe it is, I never took a class in linguistic anthropology nor do I fully understand the origins of words.

I do, however, continue to observe how some words transcend cultures and times. Take for example tea Tea originated in the Far East, and was actively traded down the Silk Trade route for millenia. Throughout the times and different groups of people, the word for tea got distored from the original Japanese Chinese saying “Cha” or “Chai” to “Chaii” in Hindu or “Cha-ie” in Farsi. I’m sure I am butchering up the official way to portray phonetics in written language, so I hope you can sound out the differences in syllables. By the time it reached Imperial Britain, it became tea, a phonetic derivation of “Chi.” There are more that I’ve observed, like sheriff in English is very similar to sharaf in Arabic/Farsi in meaning, but I’ll stop at this one.

Anyways, what I’m getting at is I’ve found a great page of explanations of the derivation and development of some popular English words. I would definately not call it an academically authorative source, but it is an interesting read for those that have a ear out for linguistic anthropology. The page is titled, “Krisstal: The Origin of Words and Names.”

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