I Miss My Girl, and other stuff

Violet is off to Chinese camp this week and next. I miss her more this year than last! But I can only imagine that she is having the time of her life. Little Victoria has mixed feelings — she misses her sister and she’s bored, but she also has a little newfound freedom, with one less person to tell her what to do.

I am a bit listless about blogging, so I’m taking direction from Sheila and telling you what’s on page 123 of the book nearest me (though this was somewhat arbitrary, as there are a lot of books very near me), as per these instructions:

1. Pick up the nearest book.
2. Open to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people, and acknowledge who tagged you.

From Bill Bryson, The Mother Tongue: English and How It Got That Way

Usually in English we strive to preserve the old spelling at almost any cost to logicality. Take ache. The spelling seems desperately inconsistent today, as indeed it is. Up until Shakespeare’s day, ache was prounounced aitch when it was a noun. As a verb, it was pronounced ake — but also, rather sensibly, was spelled ake. This tendency to fluctuate between “ch” and “k” sounds was once fairly common. It accounts for such pairs as speech/speak, stench/stink, and stitch/stick. But ache, for reasons that defy logic, adopted the verb pronunciation and the noun spelling.

Obviously more than 3 sentences, but isn’t that interesting? This kind of stuff fascinates both me and Violet.

That’s why, by the way, I don’t think I am much of a “deschooler” in the ways suggested in the book I am reading and will soon write about, Deschooling our Lives. I just plain love arcane scholarly crap (and I mean “crap” in the best possible sense), and I like forcing it on sharing my enjoyment of it with my kids.

On a related note, my friend Rex Parker has been putting an excerpt from page 123 of the paperbacks he features on his vintage paperback blog. (I just noticed the new header with the awesome quote, “Looks like you’ve been behind the barn.”) Very funny . . . don’t click the link if you have to get off the computer soon.

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5 Comments

Filed under Curriculum, Family Fun, Love this Book, Our Philosophy (such as it is), unit study -- history of english, Why Homeschool?

5 responses to “I Miss My Girl, and other stuff

  1. Ooh, Shaun, thanks. I feel awkward tagging people but I find stuff like this strangely compelling and I love to see what people are reading. You’ve reminded me of something my husband and I joke around with all the time: actors with names like Sean Bean we refer to as Shawn Bawn, or Seen Been. Now I feel like digging out my copy of Mother Tongue to see if he explains this.

    Wasn’t that a great anecdote about the Greek instructor?

  2. You are so brave sending your girl to camp. I don’t think I could cope!!

  3. I remember Violet going last year. I think it is a great adventure.

    We are home this weekend except for a day trip. Too bad we couldn’t have met last year.

  4. adsoofmelk

    Fascinating excerpt from the book. It reminds me of the whole knight/knife issue in English that I’ve often had to explain to my students, especially the ones who aren’t native speakers.

    I love “Shawn Bawn,” though. 😉

  5. Bryson is a polymath, which is good, but his usage guide irks me (in the way any usage guide is bound to, I suppose). I mean, he says that “alright” is always incorrect, but it’s perfectly good Middle English, quod I.

    rp

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