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We have an obligation to use the language. To push ourselves: to find out what words mean and how to deploy them, to communicate clearly, to say what we mean. We must not to attempt to freeze language, or to pretend it is a dead thing that must be revered, but we should use it as a living thing, that flows, that borrows words, that allows meanings and pronunciations to change with time.NeilGaimanSandman-thumb-550x493-19893

(From the Neil Gaiman‘s lecture for the Reading Agency, delivered on Monday October 14th 2103 at the Barbican in London.)

La diferencia entre súper y super-

Me encuentro la palabra súper en muchos sitios donde no es correcta:

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¿Por qué no es correcta en estos fragmentos de artículo de revista?

Porque cuando super- se mantiene en su forma de origen, es decir, funciona como prefijo que indica lugar situado por encima, superioridad, excelencia, exceso o en grado sumo, se trata de un elemento átono (como todos los prefijos) y debe escribirse sin tilde y unido sin guion a la palabra base:

Supernatural

Superfemenina

Supermercado

Supersónico

Esta tendencia a poner la tilde en el prefijo super- se debe a que, por su valor intensificativo, es frecuente su pronunciación tónica, pero se trata de un acento de tipo enfático de los que carecen de reflejo en la escritura (Ortografía de la lengua española, 2010, capítulo II, 2.1.4).

Este prefijo solo se escribe separado de la palabra base cuando se trata de un término pluriverbal, por ejemplo:

Las botas que llevas están super de moda.

(En este caso tampoco lleva tilde, ya que sigue siendo un prefijo.)

Cuando súper es un vocablo independiente (esto es, cuando el prefijo super- se independiza de su uso como elemento compositivo y se convierte en sustantivo, adjetivo o adverbio) se escribe con tilde, por ser una palabra llana acabada en –r:

Vamos a comprar al súper.

La (gasolina) súper ha subido.

La fiesta fue realmente súper.

Además, cuando la  palabra a la que se le añade el prefijo super- empieza por r, el resultado es la unión de ambas:

superrápido

superrico

Shin

Yesterday I found an interesting word in the book I was reading, The Secret Keeper, by Kate Morton. Obviously, there are many words in the book, but this one caught my attention and I thought it would be a good idea to do some research.

I found the word in this sentence:

“Dolly battled an urge to fell the other woman with a sharp jab to the shins, but decided it wouldn’t be proper.”

Dolly was somehow… annoyed, as you can imagine from her thoughts, but I was happy to find an interesting word to write about.

When I was just a little girl and began to learn English nouns, I was fascinated by the names of the parts of the human body. I was curious enough to learn them one by one, first the “big ones”: head, arms, legs…, and then the “small ones”: eyes, neck, fingers, toes…

The word I would like to talk about today is “shin”.

We can find the origin of “shin” before 1000 in the Proto-Indo-European root *skei- (to cut, split), to Proto-Germanic *skino (meaning narrow or thin piece), to Old English scinu (meaning fore part of the lower leg), to Middle English shineRelated to German Schiene (thin plate) and Dutch scheen.

So the changes over time could be: *skei > *skino > scinu > shine > shin

[The forms with asterisk, as you may know, mean that they are reconstructed by linguists, i.e., we don’t have written proofs of them.]

The first known use of “shin” is dated before 12th century.

“Shin” is a noun meaning:17

  1. The front part of the leg between the knee and ankle.
  2. The front edge of the tibia.
  3. Mainly in British English: a cut of beef, the lower foreleg.

It is also the name of the 21st letter in the Hebrew alphabet (שׁ), transliterated as sh. (This from Hebrew shīn, meaning tooth).

As a verb it means:

  1. To climb quickly up or down by gripping with one’s arms and legs and hauling oneself up (this verb was originally in nautical use; early 19th cent.)
  2. To kick (someone) in the shins.

The phonetic transcription for “shin” is:  /ʃɪn/

(NOTES: Proto-Indo-European: hypothetical reconstructed ancestral language, about 5.500 years ago; Proto-Germanic, hypothetical prehistoric ancestor of all Germanic languages, including English; Old English: the English language as written and spoken c.450-c.1100; Middle English: the English language as written and spoken c.1100-c.1500.)

You can also listen to a nursery rhyme to sing and learn some other parts of the body…

When a person is lucky enough to live inside a story, to live inside an imaginary world, the pains of this world disappear. For as long as the story goes on, reality no longer exists.

Paul Auster, Brooklyn Follies