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Meet the ancestors


pmccarthy
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Never a week goes by but I see a headline or an article that confuses the words ancestor and descendant. Invariably descendants are referred to as ancestors. Today it is a headline asking whether the US government should pay compensation to the ancestors of slaves.

 

Why are these two words confused? There must be something special about them, but I can’t figure it out. It isn’t difficult, you would expect journalists and editors to know the difference.

 

 

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"expect journalists and editors to know"

 

Well there's your problem, Peter. A flawed assumption.

 

When we were young, journalists and editors had to have a fair grasp of the English language, to get the job. And the ability to verify their sources, proof read, and spell!

 

But that is all in the past.

 

 

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Today's journalists believe that the Thesaurus was wiped out in the Cretaceous Extinction Event.

 

ancestor (n.)"one from whom a person is descended,"

 

c. 1300, ancestre, antecessour, from Old French ancestre, ancessor "ancestor, forebear, forefather" (12c., Modern French ancêtre),

 

from Late Latin antecessor "predecessor," literally "fore-goer," agent noun from past participle stem of Latin antecedere "to precede," from ante "before" + cedere "to go" 

 

descendant

 

c. 1600 (n.) "an individual proceeding from an ancestor in any degree," from French descendant (13c.), present participle of descendre "to come down"

 

 

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Never a week goes by but I see a headline or an article that confuses the words ancestor and descendant. Invariably descendants are referred to as ancestors. Today it is a headline asking whether the US government should pay compensation to the ancestors of slaves.

 

Why are these two words confused? There must be something special about them, but I can’t figure it out. It isn’t difficult, you would expect journalists and editors to know the difference.

 

If it's an American article, they have a solid track record of confusion when it comes to the English language. Having said that, our journalists are getting progressively worse in that department as well. Some of the mistakes make you wonder if the journalists write their own version and then a computer programme edits it.

 

 

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 I was rather Naive about this till I was enlightened  somewhat only a few years ago as to the extent of it "OUT THERE".  I don't find the idea easy to go along with for myriad reasons including the POWER relationship which is often at the base of abuse that is most concerning. Nev

 

 

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There is a great book by that atheist biologist Dawkins called " the ancestor's tale".  Do you know that your great ( repeat about 500 million times) grandmother was a fish?  She looked a lot like a coelacanth.

 

Bruce, there could be some truth in the theory.

 

[ATTACH]50360._xfImport[/ATTACH]

 

fish.thumb.jpg.ecc7b47ee5498f5d558c265cfe664089.jpg

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