Friday, July 18, 2008

Scheep, Schep, Shep, Sheep

Yep, you can take the teacher out of the classroom but you can't take the teaching out of the teacher.

Debbie Wright asked why two grown up lambs are "sheep" but one is not called a "shep." Well, it does seem logical when you consider that the person in charge of watching over them in the fields is called a "shepherd" not a "sheepherd." So, I had to look it up to find the proof. Sure enough, prior to the times of Old English, one sheep was a shep. The spellings varied widely but eventually, they all merged into "sheep."

This is a picture of my reference.
It is The Compact Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary. This is no ordinary dictionary. First, it is a dictionary of entymology. That means it traces the uses and spellings of English words throughout history. It is also a condensed dictionary but not like Reader's Digest condenses books. Instead of taking things out, they shrunk the entire 23 volumes down to two. It's kind of like copying a dictionary page at a reduced setting on the copier until you can fit 4 full pages on one page. You need one serious magnifying glass to read it in the best of light. That's why it comes with one! Here take a look at the entry for "sheep."

Now, I'm off to see if I can find an eye doctor. I think . . . no, I'm pretty sure I need to get glasses!

1 comment:

debenj said...

Thanks Ileana! So there was 1 shep :) Wait till I tell my hubby this as he always thought of me being "NUTS" (well he may be half

That is one serious book you have there!!!