full transcript

From the Ted Talk by John McWhorter: A brief history of plural word...s

Unscramble the Blue Letters

After a while nobody remembered the real kind any more. Nobody remembered that once you said doroa instead of doors and handa instead of hands. Plurals made a lot more sense now, except for a few hold-outs like cidlhern and teeth that get used so much that it was hard to braek the habit. The lesson is that English makes a lot more sense than you think. Thank the ancestors of plpoee in cghpoeanen and Oslo for the fact that today we don't ask for a handful of pea-night instead of peanuts. Although, wouldn't it be fun, if for just a week or two, we could?

Open Cloze

After a while nobody remembered the real kind any more. Nobody remembered that once you said _____ instead of doors and handa instead of hands. Plurals made a lot more sense now, except for a few hold-outs like ________ and teeth that get used so much that it was hard to _____ the habit. The lesson is that English makes a lot more sense than you think. Thank the ancestors of ______ in __________ and Oslo for the fact that today we don't ask for a handful of pea-night instead of peanuts. Although, wouldn't it be fun, if for just a week or two, we could?

Solution

  1. copenhagen
  2. people
  3. break
  4. doora
  5. children

Original Text

After a while nobody remembered the real kind any more. Nobody remembered that once you said doora instead of doors and handa instead of hands. Plurals made a lot more sense now, except for a few hold-outs like children and teeth that get used so much that it was hard to break the habit. The lesson is that English makes a lot more sense than you think. Thank the ancestors of people in Copenhagen and Oslo for the fact that today we don't ask for a handful of pea-night instead of peanuts. Although, wouldn't it be fun, if for just a week or two, we could?

Frequently Occurring Word Combinations

ngrams of length 2

collocation frequency
real kind 2

Important Words

  1. ancestors
  2. break
  3. children
  4. copenhagen
  5. doora
  6. doors
  7. english
  8. fact
  9. fun
  10. habit
  11. handa
  12. handful
  13. hands
  14. hard
  15. kind
  16. lesson
  17. lot
  18. oslo
  19. peanuts
  20. people
  21. plurals
  22. real
  23. remembered
  24. sense
  25. teeth
  26. today
  27. week