CLAOTE: Understanding Archaic English Terms

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Considering Lingual Aspects of the English:
Understanding Archaic English Terms

 
Considering the information in the section Considering Lingual Aspects of the English: Archaic Definitions of “husband” and “wife”, I suppose, in an archaic sense using the term “midwife” seems to be parallel to a term like “tradesman”.

According to Dictionary.com, The term “tradesman” originated around AD/CE 1600[1] and the primary definition of the term “tradesman” is: “a person engaged in a trade”[2] where the term “trade” refers to “the act or process of buying, selling, or exchanging commodities, at either wholesale or retail, within a country or between countries”.[3]

Therefore, like the term “midwife”, the term “tradesman” was at one time gender specific, identifying the gender, and the gender’s occupation, meaning he traded commodities with others.

Although here in modernity both the term “midwife” and the term “tradesman” have become gender neutral, those terms began as gender specific, identifying not only occupation but also the gender of the person.

In contrast, in the sense of the archaic English, the term “husband” was not found as a suffix.

Yet the term “man” was used as a suffix, as seen in the term “tradesman” and in the term “husbandman”.

According to Dictionary.com, the primary definition of the term “husbandman” is: “a farmer”.[4]

Additionally, the term “husbandman” originated around AD/CE 1300[5], almost the same time as the term “midwife” originated.

Therefore the term “husbandman” is functionally derived from the term “husband”.

In the archaic English the term “husband” meant: frugal manager; tiller; cultivator.

In the archaic English the suffix “man” referred to the masculine.

Therefore, like the term “tradesman”, the archaic English term “husbandman” identified the occupation and the male gender.

Therefore in the archaic English, if a man was a “husbandman” that man could have been either a frugal manager, or that man could have been a farmer because he tilled/cultivated the soil.

That explains why the term “man” was not synonymous with the archaic English use of the term “husband”.

That is because the term “man” was generic even though it referred to the masculine, whereas in the archaic English sense the term “husband” was specific and referred to a frugal manager or a cultivator which specifies an occupation not a gender.

Therefore one would find the term “husbandman” or “tradesman” but one could/would not find the non-term ‘tradeshusband’.

Why?

Because in the archaic English, the term “husband” was not synonymous with the term “man”.

Understanding that the term “husband” was not synonymous with the term “man” it therefore makes sense that the non-term ‘tradeshusband’ could not have existed in archaic English.

Why?

In the sense of archaic English, if the non-term ‘tradeshusband’ had actually existed, the term would have been an actual contradiction of archaic English terminology, because the term “trade” and the term “husband” referred to specified occupations.

Yet, if the non-term ‘midwoman’ had actually existed the term could/would have been synonymous with the actual term “midwife”.

Why?

Because in the archaic English use, the term “woman” and the term “wife” were synonymous.

In essence, what I am explaining is that in the archaic English use, the term “wife” was synonymous with “woman”.

As such, when the term “wife” worked as a suffix, the suffix just as easily could have been “woman”.

Why?

Because in the archaic English sense “wife” and “woman” were synonymous.

But, for whatever reason, even though the archaic English term “wife” and the English term “woman” were synonymous and each term could have served as a suffix for the term “mid”, it was the term “wife” that became the suffix for “mid”.

However, for the archaic English, it seems the masculine suffix “man” did not have a synonym, which explains why the term “tradesman” and the term “husbandman” can be found, and explains why the non-term “tradeshusband” cannot be found in the archaic English.

That is explained because while the term “man” functioned generically referring to any person, the term “man” also specified the male gender. Furthermore, the term “trade” and the term “husband” referred to occupations, which means that in the archaic English term “husband” and the term “man” were not synonymous.

With that in mind, when the term “wife” is the suffix for the term “house” making the term “housewife”, in archaic English the term “housewife” did not function as a pejorative.

Interestingly, in the archaic English, the term “housewife” seems likely to have not automatically conveyed that she was in a woman in a “marriage” with a man where she managed the house working at home.

Instead, even though the English term “housewife” dates back to about AD/CE 1200[6], in the archaic English sense, a “housewife” very easily could have been a single person of the female gender who was performing her occupation, cleaning a house, what we now refer to with the term “maid”. Yet, in the archaic English the term “maid” meant that the woman was a virgin.[7]

What is the point?

The lingual reality is that in the archaic English the term “husband” and the term “wife” conveyed significantly different ideas than how modernity defines those terms.

This simply means that the modern definition of “husband” and the modern definition of “wife” have separated from their archaic English definitions, which seems to have been the original lingual intent of those terms.

Am I uspset about this? No.

Should we try to reset the use of the terms? No.

Why?

Because the English language is a living language and as such the English language adapts and adopts new definitional meanings. This living language definitional realty can be seen in other English terminology.[8]

However, the issue is that a modern English Bible is not only sourced in archaic English, but continues to use archaic English terms.

That means that when the Bible first came into existence the term “husband” and the term “wife” were being used in significantly different ways than we currently define those terms.

That means modern English Bible readers read the term “husband” and the term “wife” with specific definitions that are difficult to infuse into the archaic English.

 
Footnotes:
[1] Tradesman – “Origin of tradesman”, May 5, 2017; http://www.dictionary.com/browse/tradesman.

[2] Tradesman – the primary (first) definition as defined under the Noun, May 5, 2017; http://www.dictionary.com/browse/tradesman.

[3] Trade – the primary (first) definition as defined under the Noun; May 5, 2017; http://www.dictionary.com/browse/trade.

[4] Husbandman – the primary (first) definition as defined under the Noun; May 5, 2017; http://www.dictionary.com/browse/husbandman.

[5] Husbandman – additional information under “Origin of husbandman”; May 5, 2017; http://www.dictionary.com/browse/husbandman.

[6] Housewife – additional information under “Origin of housewife”; July 5, 2017; http://www.dictionary.com/browse/housewife.

[7] Maid – the third definition as defined under the Noun, July 5, 2017; http://www.dictionary.com/browse/maid.

[8] 11 Words With Meanings That Have Changed Drastically Over Time, Original Publish Date December 22, 2015, http://mentalfloss.com/article/61876/11-words-meanings-have-changed-drastically-over-time.

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