Don’t be naughty

I’m a linguist.  I love learning about things like:

  • The Great Vowel Shift
  • Why is English spelling so hard?
    • Bough, cough, dough, rough, tough etc
    • Why is there an “h” in “ghost?  Blame the migrant workers!
  • Does the Queen speak less posh(ly?) than when she was younger?
  • etc. etc…

So, the word for today is “naughty.”

Let’s give some context.  Yesterday I was sitting in a rather intense meeting, discussing some quite weightly matters.  The chaplain then read out a passage from the Ordering of Priests:

…to seek for Christ’s sheep that are dispersed abroad, and for his children who are in the midst of this naughty world, that they may be saved through Christ for ever.

For those who are German-speakers, “naughty” would nowadays translate into “unartig.”  (Think of that classic scene from Life of Brian: “He’s not the Messiah.  He’s a very naughty boy.”)

When the chaplain read out that passage (and a bit more beforehand), this caused a ripple of smirks and laughing out loud.  It was then explained to us that at the time of the Book of Common Prayer, hundreds of years ago, “naughty” had a much stronger meaning, more along the lines of “evil”, than nowadays.

We live.  We learn.

Have a naughty day, won’t you!



2 thoughts on “Don’t be naughty

  1. Thanks for the lesson, a great start to my day

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