Linguits Explains Where “Crazy” Collective Nouns Came From

We hear and say various words and phrases every day, but sometimes we have to stop and wonder: Where did they come from?

Rob Watts of RobWords is a linguist and of course, he has a lot to say. He’s quite the orator, isn’t he? That’s what makes this video such an awesome watch.

He is here to provide us with a closer look at the origins of collective nouns. These nouns are very descriptive and they are a bedrock of the English language. Specifically, he gets into a very commonly discussed aspect of our language.

Photo: YouTube/RobWords

We have so many disparate words that are all used to describe groups of the same thing. For example, you have probably heard a group of geese referred to as a gaggle.

A group of crows is referred to as a murder. Fish are called a school, lions are known as a pride. We had no idea that a group of foxes were referred to as a skulk but we do now.

Photo: YouTube/RobWords

This is the sort of video that viewers are sure to learn a lot from. “English has all kinds of silly and strange words for when a load of one thing hang out with one another. …These collective nouns, as they’re known, raise many questions. Like what’s so murderous about a murder of crows? How can a school of fish be a school? And where on earth did all these come from?” the description inquires.

We have always wondered why a group of crows was referred to in that way but now we finally have the chance to find out everything that we need to know. Videos like these are a very crucial watch because they provide us with the chance to find out about different aspects of language that we may not have been familiar with.

Photo: YouTube/RobWords

RobWords is the perfect host to walk us through all of this. As someone who has taken such a strong interest in language as a whole, he is a natural choice to explain collective nouns. He’s a really good teacher and we love all of his videos.

Check out the video below:

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