Check out this interesting article, which nicely follows up our class discussions last week about the evolution of language. "Folks" — a word that somehow transitioned from "us" to "them"!
Participation! Try looking up the word in the OED, via the library database links here, and see what history they show for the word. Use the comments here to post any results/thoughts.
12/12/2014 06:16:23 pm
The first thing I noticed when looking up the definition of "folk" in the OED was that many of the examples for use of the word had come from the Bible or hymns. These examples showed "folk" being used to describe an inclusive group of people. As I continued reading the definitions and examples, I noticed that it always describes a group of people united by some commonality and more often than not, it was a positive commonality. There were positive connotations associated with the examples and use of "folks" to describes an "us" or "we" entity, a group the speaker, when the example was in first person, was often included in. This is interesting when contrasted to the article in which more modern uses of "folks" refers to groups away and excluded from the "us" or "we." I noticed some of the later examples listed under the definitions seemed to be referring more to "folks" as "some other people," but not in a negative manner, simply to say something like, "those folks think this..." or something along those lines. But I did not see any examples of use of the word "folks" that I felt had a bad connotation to it, which means the article points out a relatively new occurrence in the evolution of English.
12/16/2014 01:51:27 pm
Upon looking into the past definitions of the word "folk" in the OED, I noticed that they are all defined with either neutral or positive connotations. They seem to hold the definitions of the traditional use of the word in the way that President Clinton used the word in the 90's rather than the way President Obama uses the word now. Usually, when I think of the word "folks," I still hold a positive connotation in my mind, so I found the article very intriguing as it offered a completely different definition and view.
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