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Here's How Far You'd Have to Go Back For English to Stop Making Sense

Language is evolving all the time. Describing something as naughty, awful, or terrific a couple centuries ago had very different connotations from what we now see today. And just as words (or non-words) are constantly popping up that would have meant nothing in the not-so-distant past, older parts of our language are also disappearing for good.

This video from the history-focused YouTube channel YesterVid explores how far back in time modern English-speakers would have to travel for their own language to become something they wouldn't recognize. Aside from not being able to understand some outdated slang terms, it wouldn't be too difficult to get by in the 18th and 19th centuries with the language skills we have now. The Great Vowel Shift took place during the 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries, so while you still would have been able to recognize a lot words of the time, understanding their pronunciation would have been half the battle. (You have this confusing period to thank for the different pronunciations of "ea" in words like "knead," "bread," and "great.")

Though conversing with fellow English speakers would have been a struggle prior to 1400, it's not until the turn of the first millennium that English might as well have been another language altogether. You can watch the full video above and subscribe to YesterVid for more history-filled content.

[h/t Gizmodo]

Header/banner images courtesy of YesterVid via YouTube.

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26 Facts About LEGO Bricks

Since it first added plastic, interlocking bricks to its lineup, the Danish toy company LEGO (from the words Leg Godt for “play well”) has inspired builders of all ages to bring their most imaginative designs to life. Sets have ranged in size from scenes that can be assembled in a few minutes to 5000-piece behemoths depicting famous landmarks. And tinkerers aren’t limited to the sets they find in stores. One of the largest LEGO creations was a life-sized home in the UK that required 3.2 million tiny bricks to construct.

In this episode of the List Show, John Green lays out 26 playful facts about one of the world’s most beloved toy brands. To hear about the LEGO black market, the vault containing every LEGO set ever released, and more, check out the video above then subscribe to our YouTube channel to stay up-to-date with the latest flossy content.

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Of Buckeyes and Butternuts: 29 States With Weird Nicknames for Their Residents
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Tracing a word’s origin and evolution can yield fascinating historical insights—and the weird nicknames used in some states to describe their residents are no exception. In the Mental Floss video above, host John Green explains the probable etymologies of 29 monikers that describe inhabitants of certain states across the country.

Some of these nicknames, like “Hoosiers” and “Arkies” (which denote residents of Indiana and Arkansas, respectively) may have slightly offensive connotations, while others—including "Buckeyes," "Jayhawks," "Butternuts," and "Tar Heels"—evoke the military histories of Ohio, Kansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina. And a few, like “Muskrats” and “Sourdoughs,” are even inspired by early foods eaten in Delaware and Alaska. ("Goober-grabber" sounds goofier, but it at least refers to peanuts, which are a common crop in Georgia, as well as North Carolina and Arkansas.)

Learn more fascinating facts about states' nicknames for their residents by watching the video above.

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