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Three Shorts

Shorter version last blog. Long ago long vowels were followed by single consonants, and short strong vowels were always followed by double letters, like this: ‘A henn satt on an egg. A catt and its kittens satt on a matt.’ ‘I hop you hopp over the logg.’ ‘I mad you a funny cotton dress. I hop you are not madd at me.’ Everything was written by hand but only a few people knew how to write and their hands grew tired. To save paper and time and energy they stopped doubling letters at the end of words. However, then HOP spelt both ‘hop’ and ‘hope’; MAD spelt both ‘mad’ and ‘made’. So they decided to add a silent E to show that D has always been single in ‘made’ and P has always been single in ‘hope’. We still double the P inside words, after a short vowel, which is why ‘hopping’ has a short vowel and ‘hoping’ has a long vowel.

Short Word Rule

‘Egg’ has kept its double letters because otherwise it would break a very strong rule which says that all nouns must have at least three letters. To obey this rule some nouns, like 'inn', still double their last letter and others, like ‘axe’, add a silent E. Only one noun breaks that rule: ‘ox’. The word ‘noun’ means ‘name’. Nouns are the names of all things — places, feelings, and animal-mineral-vegetable things like ‘dog’, ‘fish’, ‘air’, rock’, ‘flower’, ‘grass’ and ‘girl’, ‘boy’. If a thing has a name of its very own that name gets a capital letter and is called a Proper Noun. Your name is a Proper Noun. ‘Proper’ is short for ‘appropriate’. Parents choose appropriate (suitable) names for their children, a name they like for the child they love. Proper nouns do not have to obey the Short Word Rule which says that all nouns must have three letters but they usually do, which is why, instead of just ‘An’, people choose ‘Ann’ or ‘Anne’.

Short version of Australia del Espiritu Santo

BTW, ‘country’ is a noun but each country has a name and our country’s name is Australia. This a very appropriate Proper Noun because it means ‘Southernland’. In 1606 a great Portuguese navigator, Pedro Fernandez de Quiros, changed ‘australis’ which means ‘southern’ into ‘australia’ to make ‘southernland’. He called it Australia del Espiritu Santo, meaning Southland of the Holy Spirit. In 1814 Matthew Flinders shortened it to Australia.

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