solecism

Sometimes the derivation is more interesting than the meaning of the word. Take Chambers Dictionary’s entry for the word solecism:

solecism n a breach of syntax or a nonstandard grammatical usage; any absurdity, impropriety, or incongruity; a breach of good manners or etiquette. [Gr soloikismos, said to come from the corruption of the Attic dialect among the Athenian colonists (oikizein to colonize) of Soloi in Cilicia]

And what brought this happy word to mind? It was the suggestion of singing a hymn based on the Nunc Dimittis, at Morning Prayer…

But the derivation got me thinking about how colonists corrupt the dialect of the country they originally came from. We end up with many different forms of English: American, Australian, New Zealand etc. But haven’t they quite often preserved forms of the dialect which have not been preserved in the original? Like the ways American English has preserved some aspects of the vocabulary, syntax and pronunciation of the 17th century standard English spoken by the original colonists.