Commentary – I: Lighting a Candle

c andles is a hard k letter c - only before e and i is it
soft and pronounced as letter s .
c elebrity c elebration C inderella c inders
Notice that this set of words is LatinFrench LF or
Romance, meaning from the Roman civilization. We
will abbreviate this (R) or R
ch can also be hard k in ch aracter ch aracteristic .R.
ASG (Anglo-Saxon-Germanic) words in c like can
are hard .
depatchd relatives was a good try. Yes – it is a (R)
word. Look at the granularity: even. bacaC+d in your
version ; and d e p a r t e d [correctly] baca C ad :
very even. Especially notice ed the ending and de
the starting ‘prepositional segment’.
A preposition is a short word indicating the dynamic
relation of two things. On the table, beside the pencil
is the ruler.

In (R) words these are often short two-letter
combinations such as de- in- un- re- con-
When you see them, the very next thing in the word
gets the stress, and then the word makes no further
effort to be stressed at all and will shorten itself as far
as English allows.
de PART ch* de PART td` - I put in the * symbol
to show a soft continuing sound and the ` to indicate
a slightly harder, sharper one from the tongue at the
end of ‘departed’. ‘relatives’ too, is exactly the same,
but seems the opposite at first. It is (R). It has a re- at
the start which would have no stress if it was in the
head word, the verb, reLATE
but another thing about R words is that the stress can
move forward on nouns formed from verbs or
adverbs – examples: relatively, re lat ive –
pronounced at normal speed RE- L tiv , RE- L tiv li
Here I am not following the dictionaries and putting
in any other small symbols. The word just stops, a bit
suddenly and softly – almost whispered – but English
is like that.
Look at the granularity – and at the ‘surprise value’ of
a word – the rate of change from one element to the
next, how well the word flows, really – and you will
see that relative relatively departure departed are all R
while knell bell quick run are ASG. ASG words can
be short, but usually have some drama in them. And
the words for the most basic things in the language
always come from the earliest deposits in its strata, if
you remember my picture of a language being like a
collection of levels of rocks, the oldest ones at the
In any language those would be words like mother
run horse winter hot cold and so on…
That’s more than enough. You’ve done wonderfully
well to lend me your undivided attention – thanks!

The Scottish mountain Suliven – made of ‘Torridonian sandstone’ and
‘sitting on a landscape of Lewisian gneiss’