Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.
Elaborate, long “A”, is a verb. When you elaborate on an issue, for instance, you go into more detail, filling in important information. Or perhaps you just bloviate, which is not such a good thing. To bloviate is to be long-winded and pompous, boring and irritating as you go on and on, expounding to everyone who can’t escape.
But elaborate with a shorter “a” sound is an adjective. Isn’t that fun? An elaborate feast is what we in America enjoy on Thanksgiving Day, or Christmas, or a birthday, or just because we are celebrating life.
How can two identical words, with just a tiny difference in pronunciation, be two different parts of speech?
Dunno. It just is. It’s something we learn from the first moment we recognize that making certain sounds will get us some kind of attention. As we grow up, we learn the words and speech patterns of those around us.
English isn’t the only language that uses intonation or short/long vowel sounds to create different meaning for the same word. I’ve read, for instance, that some languages give words different meanings by the raising or lowering of pitch at the end of the word. How on earth does anyone learn all that? Same way we learn English. You imitate what you hear, and you learn by trial and error.
Language is a wonderful thing.