I had a personally profound experience a while ago, one which I am still thinking about. I was sitting around, thinking about the word 'crux'. It's such an odd word; it holds much power in its meaning, but sounds so very odd to our ears.
The only time we use it is in the phrase "the crux of the argument", which is the single thing that holds the entire structure together. Without a crux, everything falls apart.
I started playing around with the forms that 'crux' could take. I came up with its adjectival form: cruxial. That is when all of the gears started turning in my head. I thought about my studies of linguistics, about how language changes and the specific ways that English has evolved.
'Cruxial' is not a word, even though it should be. So what would it have become? X's become softer, becoming S's of some sort. It would become 'crusial'. Or maybe. . .crucial! Of course! 'Crux' becomes 'crucial'. It all makes sense. If something is crucial, then it is absolutely necessary. If a crucial thing is missing, then the entire structure it was built on falls apart.
Although I do find language evolution interesting, I also find it frustrating. We are so disconnected from our language's roots that we have no idea that crux and crucial are two forms of the exact same word. Sure, I know how to use both of the words in sentences. I know how to define both of those words, but still was totally unaware of their relationship.
Though it bothers me that I have to sit down to think about words just to understand them, I am glad that I do sit down and think about words. I love discovering these connections that are right in front of us that we never realize for the longest time.
What have you discovered recently?