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November 17, 2013

History Of The English Language

Is language art or instinct? How do the twists and turns of history define, create and emphasize the inherent characteristics of any given culture and hence, its language?

Here is a super-summarized, and yes, a bit irreverent, overview of the major turning points...

...of the English language.

You can check out the video here - http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2013/11/13/open-university-history-of-the-english-language-animated/.

Every language bears the scars and influences of wars, occupations, technological developments and population shifts (like large scale emigration).

The English language, for a variety of reasons, is eminently adaptable. It has perhaps the most limited alphabet, but precisely because of this limitation has established a legacy of 'place-holder' letters (like the 'a' in 'team') silent letters, from the silent 'g' in 'bought' or 'taught' for example, to the very common silent 'e' usually at the end of a word (as in cape, hope or bite).

Be sure to pay attention to the short section on American English. Yes, I'd have to agree, American English is not quite the same, but is 'in the same ballpark'.

This short video cover a lot in about ten minutes, you might want to watch it a couple times. It's worth it!

Posted by mmorf at November 17, 2013 10:00 PM


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