A History of A*

According to the ONLINE ETYMOLOGY DICTIONARY**, the etymological “definition” of the indefinite article “a” is:

a form of an used before consonants, mid-12c., a weakened form of Old English an “one” (see an). The disappearance of the -n- before consonants was mostly complete by mid-14c. After c. 1600 the -n- also began to vanish before words beginning with a sounded -h-; it still is retained by many writers before unaccented syllables in h- or (e)u- but is now no longer normally spoken as such. The -n- also lingered (especially in southern England dialect) before -w- and -y- through 15c.

It also is used before nouns of singular number and a few plural nouns when few or great many is interposed.

For reasons unclear, I wondered all of a sudden how that much overworked and under-appreciated word “a” came about…
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History Lessons Near and Less Near: On Drumpf and On Schicklgruber

History Lesson Near On Drumpf

From “Last Week Tonight”


This amazing video should be watched in its entirty but what pertains specifically to Drumpf begins at mark 17:55
 


 

History Lesson Less Near On Schicklgruber

From THE RISE AND FALL OF THE THIRD REICH
 

 

There are many weird twists of fate in the strange life of Adolf Hitler, but none more odd than this one which took place thirteen years before his birth. Had the eighty-four-year-old wandering miller not made his unexpected reappearance to recognize the paternity of his thirty-nine-year-old son nearly thirty years after the death of the mother, Adolf Hitler would have been born Adolf Schicklgruber. There may not be much or anything in a name, but I have heard Germans speculate whether Hitler could have become the master of Germany had he been known to the world as Schicklgruber. It has a slightly comic sound as it rolls off the tongue of a South German. Can one imagine the frenzied German masses acclaiming a Schicklgruber with their thunderous “Heils”? “Heil Schieklgruber!”? Not only was “Heil Hitler!” used as a Wagnerian, paganlike chant by the multitude in the mystic pageantry of the massive Nazi rallies, but it became the obligatory form of greeting between Germans during the Third Reich, even on the telephone, where it replaced the conventional “Hello.” “Heil Schicklgruber!”? It is a little difficult to imagine.*

*Hitler himself seems to have recognized this. In his youth he confided to the only boyhood friend he had that nothing had ever pleased him as much as his father’s change of names. He told August Kubizek that the name Schicklgruger “seemed to him so uncouth, so boorish, apart from being so clumsy and unpractical. He found ‘Hiedler’ … to soft; but ‘Hitler’ sounded nice and was easy to remember.”
(August Kubizek, The Young Hitler I Knew, p.40.)

 


 
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