Lauren Krueger & Matthew David Brozik

Do you hear what I c?

In Definally on May 27, 2011 at 10:00 am

Lauren S. of New J. writes, “Why are the words convicted and indicted spelled almost the same but pronounced completely differently? I know that English is not a logical language, but if they derive from Latin, shouldn’t they be consistent?”

This is really not the sort of question Definally. typically takes on, but Definally. is on vacation (as of the time you’ll be seeing this post), and Lauren’s is the only question left in the queue to be answered. So here’s the answer:

Blame the French. It’s really that simple. Look:

Convict(ed) comes to English originally from the Latin verb convincere (to convince), by way of Middle English.

Indict(ed), on the other hand, comes to English originally from the Latin verb indicere (to proclaim or appoint), by way of Anglo-Norman French enditer, and only then through Middle English. It was the Anglo-Normans who removed the hard c. (It reappeared, but silently.)

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  1. thanks! that definally. clears that up! L

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