This morning, a radio presenter talked about David Walliams completing the 140 mile Thames swim and raising over one million pounds for charity. A word “swum” was discussed. The presenter felt that “swum” isn’t a so common word and he called a linguist to explain the use of the word.

For example,

“swim”, “swam”, “swum”

“drive”, “drove”, “driven”

“dive”, “dove/dived”, “dived”

Language is changing, or say that the meanings of some words have changed over time, and older senses of a word may grow uncommon or disappear entirely from everyday use, for instance “hark”, “wee hansel”.

The linguist  mentioned “Etymology” as one of his favourite words.  It is derived from the Greek word etymon, which means “the true sense of a word”. It refers to linguistics that studies word histories.

Well, it’s  not easy for ESL speakers.  Sometimes, they read novels and learned a few new words, but they may not realise that the words are out of fashion.

Some useful English learning resources: