The Letter I: Uniquely Ours

Rye Regular

I’m not sure there’s another language where the I is pronounced like we English pronounce ours. (Though we must make allowances for the Cockney OY.) There are some dialects that pronounce AYE like our I, but I don’t know of any other language where it stands alone.

However, most of our words that start with I come from Latin, carried across the English Cannel by Roman soldiers, or coming into English via the French adaptation of a Latin word.

Even our simple word INK comes from the French encre, adapted from the Latin encaustum, meaning burned in. The Romans in turn borrowed it from the Greek word encaustos, which is where we get our word CAUSTIC

Actually, many of our IMPORTANT, INTERESTING, INFORMATIVE, and INTRIGUING words start with an I. Im- heads off a number, Imm- some more, and In- starts off a host of words.

Some of these are combos, while others maybe once were, but have become detached from their roots:
We have INERT, but no ERT; INVITE but no VITE.
INVOKE still shows its roots; the –voke comes from vocation.
INVESTIGATE comes from In + vestige, or trace. So you’re looking for traces of the facts when you investigate something.

Rye Regular

Awhile back I started reading a book about the history of Europe from the fall of the Roman Empire, through the Middle Ages, up until the Enlightenment. It was heavy slogging but one thing was clear: the history of Europe has been a long stream of invasion and bloody conquest.

Constant waves of invaders came from the east, the steppes, the Ural mountains: the Franks, the Goths, the Gauls, the Vandals, and a host of others. A lot of these had their turn sacking poor Rome, and then moved on to various other conquests, including the British Isles. Plus there was the era when a good part of Europe was overrun by Muslim armies. Land grab, power grab: this is the history of mankind.

The news this past year has been disturbing to many of us, and leads us to wonder if INSIDIOUS INVADERS are at work behind the scenes. Not wielding swords and charging forth, but playing from the shadows, slinging ink and using social media, hacking, spying. Fueling discord, attacking authority, wishing to bring down the society we have now and replace it with something “better.” But who is really behind the turmoil and mud-slinging we’re seeing today? People may not be such willing puppets if they could see who’s really pulling the strings.

I believe it would be a good thing for us all to read George Orwell’s book, Animal Farm, and refresh our minds as to the possible consequences of “throwing off the yoke of oppression and bringing in a new social order.” If we lose our guiding star in these chaotic times, some power will step in and take control – and they may not be so nice to live under, either.

4 thoughts on “The Letter I: Uniquely Ours

  1. I couldn’t agree more. The entire history of mankind, including the western hemisphere, is one people/group after another pushing their way into what they see as new territory. It’s a very long and very old trail of blood.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. And it’s not the openly aggressive and greedy who are the most dangerous. People can see what they want. It’s the ones who spout lofty, generous ideals, have people expecting so much better, and then quietly redirect all the power and funds their way.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Where I live on the southeast coast of England is steeped in history. Close by we have the remains of a Roman castle, and the beach I regularly walk along is where William the Conqueror landed in 1066 to carry out the Norman Conquest. All we see these days are illegal immigrants coming ashore!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for your comment. Yes, your area would be steeped in history. That’s why you get all the tourists. 🙂

      Re: illegal immigrants. For all we might complain about the faults of our government or societies, it says something that so many others want in. (Mind you, immigrants aren’t rushing into Canada. I think everyone’s heard about our weeks of -40 C. We publicize that a lot. 😉 )

      Liked by 1 person

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