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Podictionary Interview – Philip Durkin

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This is a special podictionary episode in which I interview Philip Durkin, the Principal Etymologist for The Oxford English Dictionary.

OxfordGuideEtymologyI contacted Dr. Durkin because his book The Oxford Guide to Etymology was recently released in North America and he was kind enough to spend a comfortable 20 minutes talking with me.

Podictionary often concentrates on the changes in meaning that a word goes through over time so when we talked we discussed the other side of etymology—changes in word form.

Dr. Durkin explained some of the tools of etymology as well as talked specifically about the etymologies of the words friar and penguin.

At the moment there is no transcript available of this interview but I encourage you to listen either by clicking the “download” link above or via the website audio player.

Five days a week Charles Hodgson produces Podictionary – the podcast for word lovers, Thursday episodes here at OUPblog. He’s also the author of several books including his latest History of Wine Words – An Intoxicating Dictionary of Etymology from the Vineyard, Glass, and Bottle.

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  2. Stan Carey

    Thanks very much, I enjoyed this discussion.

  3. Kenneth "Ken" Doig

    Léofa dr Durkin,

    Mín nama is Kenneth Doig, æfternama mín scýttisc-gælisc ác wé arun láhlandes blódes,(ic wæs in middle-Californian geboren) from Perþscíre, þe már germanisc þone celtisc is. Fresþéoda from niðerlendiscum & norðþéodisclendiscum strandum and ýter-éiglandum cwómun. Ýtan (oððe, iutan, eudoses, éotan, and hit is ácendlicnes þæt híe þá ýlcan þéoda als ‘géatas’ Béowulfes síen) Mé þýnceþ þæt ængle and ýtenaþéoda án and seo ýlce þéode síe. Mé þýnceþ éalswá þæt þá swá-geclyptan ýngwíniscan ne westgermanan síen. Þær is gréata ǽbǽrenessa in stære,swá sægdun rómwaran, Tacitus and Iulius Caesar, ymb sume æwunan, tó bígspele, gréate árfulness Néorðes, án éorðanós, undergundgod, wáterós.Néorp wæs bu carlmann and cwén. Indo-europeanþéoda hæfdun héofonése, léoht- ligenting-, þunor- lyft- sunnanése. Héora cýning goda wæs Tíw, þæt ýle god als Zeus, Díwos, Iupitter/Ioue, Dyauspitah, a.s.o. (‘and swá on’). Hætedun híe éorðangod and éorðanmodorgod. In spræccræft sind gréata ungelícnessa from westgermaniscum tungum. Mé þýnceþ ðæt ‘ingvaenic’ án hlenc betwuxt westgermaniscum and norðgermaniscum tungum. Als dr. Gudmund Schuette in his magnum opus-bóce “The Gothonic nations : A manual of the ethnography of the Gothic, German, Dutch, Anglo-Saxon, Frisian and Scandinavian peoples”.(1929-33) sægde, hé géaf þone naman ‘peninsular Germanic’ ýnwinesþéodum, ‘Peninsular Germanic’, ymb héora tungan.
    I hope you don’t mind, I am reposting your excellent article from http://www.oed.com/page/oldenglishintro/Old+English$2014an+overview, on my blog. Of course, I give you full attribution, citing you as “Dr. Philip Durkin, OED” with a linkback. The address is http://www.proto-germanic.com/2012/01/some-distinguishing-features-of-old.html. I have made comments and annotations, visibly in red, so readers will not attribute some of my crazy theories to you.

    Ken Doig
    fyrnlárcræaft (archaeology)

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