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June 10, 2010

Routes (and Puzzles) of English

Ever wonder how the English language got to your particular corner of the world? Or puzzle over some of the odd sounding words that make up the moving parts of our language? If you have any of these questions, I have a website for you. This site traces the various routes.....

...twists and turns of this language we all - even native speakers - struggle with.

The site is called Routes of English. You can see it at - http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/routesofenglish/index.shtml.

Among other things, this site has some intriguing aspects. One is the source of English swear words. Check it out at - http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/routesofenglish/storysofar/programme2_4.shtml.

Ever wonder how a new product got its name? How about something familiar, but with an odd name? For example, ever wonder about "umbrella"? Or "parachute"? Or "radar"? "Laser"?

For some background on where these words came from, take a look at - http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/routesofenglish/storysofar/programme2_1.shtml.

If word games sound like fun, take a look here - http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/routesofenglish/games/index.shtml

Another feature I like about this site is a live chat where anyone can send questions or comments. You can send your comments or read the comments of others here - http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/routesofenglish/youtellus/transcript.shtml

For a world map that shows the broad historic and geographic spread of the English language, take a look here - http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/routesofenglish/world/index_noflash.shtml.

I love the near infinite adaptability of the English language and I particularly love the unexpected convergences and unlikely combinations and distortions from other languages that make English the endlessly dynamic, difficult and puzzling language that seems to survive - even thrive - throughout all kinds of conflicts and threats.

We are all always learning. It is always more fun to learn together, so let me know what it is about English that you find confounding, infuriating or endlessly intriguing.

Listen, read and speak. Make your new language your own.

My best to you as you make your way through this intriguing , constantly shifting linguistic landscape.

Morf

About the author of this entry:

Morf has a B.A.from the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington and an MAT (Master's in Teaching English) from the University of Washington (Seattle). Morf prefers international and independent films, foreign foods he can't pronounce, music no one else has heard of and riding his bicycle in foreign cities.

Posted by mmorf at June 10, 2010 11:07 PM

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