Of Wormaids and Dead Languages

a picture of a wormaid

So you’re still saying “wormaid” instead of “mermaid”, and it still cracks me up inside. But I figure that if I don’t intervene, you’ll get your feelings hurt one day and wonder why your mom and I didn’t set you straight. So I have resolved to tell you that it’s “mermaid” at the next available opportunity.

But when will I get that opportunity? You believe in your own ability to order reality by fiat, so I’ll need some authority to support the change that I’m asking you to make. And I have been meaning to tell you about the existence and importance of Latin. But that’s a task only a fool would take lightly. Yes, we will need to break out the chalkboard, because before we talk about Latin, we first need to establish that there are other languages. And that will entail talking about “words” in a more precise way than usual. (I do think we can elide the distinction between the Latin “mare” and the middle English “mer-” — I’m not trying to confuse you, after all.) So I really don’t know when we will get around to this.

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