It is commonly known now that English is the most wide-spoken language, it has been picked as an international” language; It is the preferred language for business ramifications, education, travel as well as the words that are adopted in to other languages from English. The richness of its vocabulary is on one hand a positive thing, as in English you can give many different shades and distinguish because there are so many synonyms but on the other hand this creates a complex vocabulary and the need for thesauruses that other languages don ‘t have.
This vocabulary, as with many languages vocabulary, is sometimes conditions by the countries need, Bryon gives many examples, one example is that Eskimos have words for fifty types of snow. This shows owe practical reasons can change a language just as much as history itself. English has certain flexibility.
This has good things, as it has easy word ordering but is also deceivingly complex, not so many pronouns, it is free of gender, lot’s of synonyms and it is a more concise yet in some circles, English tends to use more “waffle and jargon ” (Page 9) this and the rules of grammar end up perplexing non-native people trying to learn it. Bryon tries to explain that all languages have positive sides and negative sides this deceptive complexity affects English yet it has thrived. He gives numerous examples of how English is misused all over the world he partially blames the translating process. Chapter Two: The Dawn of Language.
The second chapter starts with the beginning of humanity and the question of where does English come from, and it begins considering the dawn of language as something that happened all over the world at approximately the same time, as Bryon puts it: almost as if an alarm clock went off inside the homo sapiens-sapiens this ideas is backed by the amount of similarities between languages that were thousands of miles away and had had no contact. Bryon starts with the Neanderthals who started were quite unique, then came the Homo Sapiens- Sapiens of Crop-Mignon and finishes with the fall of Rome.
It seems that all languages derive from an initial one. English comes from the Germanic family; which was divided in to North Germanic, West Germanic and East Germanic. From the north came all the Scandinavian languages; from the west Germanic came English, German and Dutch and the East Germanic gave us Gothic and Vandalism, both have slowly died out. Lithuanian is the language that has changed the least of all the Indo- European languages; they can even understand simple Sanskrit. Chapter Three: Global language.
Languages all have the same purpose; to communicate they do this in very different ways, through gender. The differences can be due to culture; speech conventions, plural or no plural… All languages are born and they live and die out or change. When languages are formed they can be called Creoles, nowadays there are about 2. 700, in most countries there are two native languages and countless dialects. This number is only an approximation as languages die out and new pidgins and creoles are born. Bryon says that -the tendency is to absorption and amalgamation ” (page 28).
All languages change, (except written Icelandic) English has changed dramatically but thankfully has survived. The only language that is steadily increasing is Scottish Celtic, while many others are dying out, for example Irish Celtic. There are many factors that influence this process, some blame the governments that have enforced one language over another, yet governments have tried to save languages yet they have still died out, Bryon comments on the difference there would be between a map of Europe based on languages and one based on frontiers, there would be big differences.
Most languages end up ” blending and merging “(30). This has created big political and social problems in Canada and Belgium among many others. Recently languages are being preserved better by politicians yet in some cases it is not enough as is happening in Wales where the beautiful Welsh is dying out slowly even though it has gone from being banned to being respected.
For English this is a good thing, because people who cannot communicate because they have different native tongues are now using English as the preferred instrument for understanding each other Chapter Four: The First thousand years. The fourth Chapter of this book explores the beginning and formation of English, taking in to account the different external factors (invasions and conquests) and the internal factors that have helped mould old English in to middle English and finally give us our modern day version.
The history of English begins over 1. 500 years ago The Angles, a tribe from northern Germany moved there tribe to the Island and displaced the Cells; these Angles along with three hundred thousand Frisian, who also came from western Germany and northern Holland, settled and probably gave us the asses of the language. This can be seen as they have many similarities with English as well as with German and Dutch. When the Romans withdrew, these two along with the Saxons and the Jutes settled all over the future Britain.
There is no account of this as the Anglo-Saxons (as they are known) did not know how to write, they still used a runic alphabet for ceremonial uses. These may have brought a new language to the island but they also made it take a few steps back in other ways, as the Cells had become much more civilized a and the Anglo-Saxons were more barbaric. But it took a few endured years more for English to start to resemble it’ s modern day version, as the French also imposed their language as it became that more important and ” cultural” than the poor man’s second-rate language: English.
This was Early Middle English’ a mixture of dialects, languages and rules that had not been clearly defined yet as it was in constant evolution as it pushed French out as Bryon said – luckily it survived ‘(48). By the year 1415 English had started making a place for itself, this process had been sloe, but I the East Midlands their dialect was promoted by the two important universities that ad been built there: Oxford and Cambridge. And at the same time the dialect from London (even though it was quite different to the East-midlands dialect) had made itself important for business purposes.
English on its way to its future status of ” international language ” . Bryon reflect o the fact that the most fundamental words in the English vocabulary (1 %) come directly from Old English, this makes it clear that the Anglo- Saxons are still important as they gave us words as : Man, Child, love, fight, drink… And this means than in any conversation we are likely to still use them. Later in Shakespearean period English was still in evolution even if it changed in more subtle ways.
Bryon says on page 57 that ” no one in any tongue has ever made greater play of his language- he coined some 2000 words” as well as giving us some of the most used and well known sayings English also loss things as the pronouns, and the rise of the progressive verb. All this said, English was still considered in many social contexts as being a second-rate language preferring romance languages. In less than anyone cool have though it would become the world’s language of preference. Chapter Five: Where rods come from.
This chapter starts looking at English from a a point of view of its rich vocabulary, as was said at the beginning it offers a richness of shades thanks to the enormous quantity of possible words. It also has ” gap ‘s It is this richness of shades of meaning that often makes English a more complex language to learn and understand due to the elevated number of synonyms, antonym ‘ s, hypo’s etc. Bryon gives us a short explanation on how words can come to be, he gives multiple ways: Firstly words can be created by error; Secondly words are adopted from other languages, dialects…
Thirdly he says words are created sometimes without an explanation; Fourthly sometimes a word form says the same but what it means changes over time; And lastly words can be created by adding or subtracting from words that already exist in the same language or others. The last one IS considered by Bryon to be the most ‘ prolific’ . Chapter Six: Pronunciation This chapter focuses on the phonetics of English language, he starts by telling us that the most frequent vowel sound in English is not a vowel, but the colorless murmur of Schwa” which can be found in most words in the English language.
This along with other things like the the ‘ sound make English hard to learn to speak and understand . The author says that the only thing that is certain about English pronunciation is that there is almost nothing certain about it- (Page 77). Other languages have a closer relationship between what is written and how it is pronounced, Bryon uses Finnish as an example of this -neat correspondence” so as to compare it to the more random” English. But he also says that all languages have their flaws and accept them even if they could be changed.
All this is said to make English a ore imprecise and relaxed language but as the author points out, this is not the case as English speakers manage to speak and recognize many more meanings than could be understood in other more rigid languages he names our speed of speech as one of the things that helps. English pronunciation has changed progressively over time, not just in the Great Vowel Shift as it might first seem. As it has changed just to suit fashion, for example incorporation of a long ‘a’ in many words in the 1 8th century because they thought it sounded posh.
By Shakespearean period the language sound and homes were already similar to our modern day versions. Chapter 7: Varieties of English. This chapter zero s in on the dialects that are in Great Britain, some people say that there are thirteen very unique dialects of English; other people say there are as many as forty two. This depends on the definition of dialect you know as in with English there are some many variation of the primary language depending on location. There is no fixed number as this field of study is fairly recent, and that means that there will be many dialects that have already died out and are lost forever.
Also words that have come from a specific dialect in England have traveled and been adopted by other languages unexpectedly. The author gives numerous examples of dialects of this language, some that have conserved strong resemblances and others that have strayed away from it. Some dialects have become very important as for example in the – new world of America there are many dialects some of which could be thought of as independent tongues. The new tongues in America have helped English as a whole to gain international status; as have all these dialects of the main language that are spoken all around the world.
Lastly each one of them has changed independently and has its own quirks now. Chapter Eight: Spelling Europe itself never created an alphabet, Bryon tells us in this chapter how Europe just modified pictographs, made by the Semitic people. Or system is radically simpler than the Chinese pictographic-ideographic system which causes them problems as each word has its own symbol although the author points out a positive side to Chinese, the fact that it can be read anywhere in China even if in spoken Chinese they probably could not understand each other.
Chinese is seen as a complicated language but Japanese as it is a stenographic system of 7000 characters and two additional syllabic alphabets this has many drawbacks, the same as the Chinese system especially when it comes to writing with a keyboard. European spelling might at first seem so much easier, but in fact the alphabet does not include enough letters for the amount of sounds in English for example. That is why spelling in English is so hard, yet it has good things as well as for example the lack of diacritical marks among other things.
The way a word is spelled can change over time, Bryon talks of the Anglo-Saxons who adopted the Roman alphabet yet had to include three letters from their own runic system to have a complete alphabet; names of people and names of places change quicker as they depend on how somebody wrote in a particular moment. Bryon exemplifies this with the name: Shakespeare that had over eighty spellings. Standardization of English spelling came around about the year 1 650, then came numerous intents of simplifying spelling even though up to the 1 7th century the tendency had been to not lose the original form.
These simplified systems gain in terms of consistency but often loose in terms of clarity, as Bryon said at the end of this chapter. Chapter Nine: Good English and Bad This chapter looks closer at the grammatical aspects of English and the misuse of the grammatical rule that lead to bad English. The author comments on the fact that these rules are based on Latin, and that nowadays is not a logical and as useful as it may seem as English and Latin do not have that much in common; even though it allows us to be clear and specific in some cases it causes trouble in others.
The rules are often bent when linguist find themselves with something that the original rule can not apply they simply make it apply as these ” rules of grammar” do not poses a clear cut define action that provides sufficient explanation for every possibility this problem has tried to be resolved by creating national institutes that control or/define their own language, the author believes that these institutions starts off with good intentions but normally end up having a depressing effect on the language.
The author gives multiple examples of how people have tried to agree on what is good English, but every language changes with time as to continue being practical and in accordance with society so to trim to define it is very hard, dictionaries have limited themselves in English to merely descriptive work so as to have a minimum of formal conventions.
Chapter Ten: Order out of chaos Nobody can say for certain how many words there are in the English language, this is due to numerous things First it is said that synonyms could be counted as separate words, secondly words from specific circles as for example scientific words are not normally addressed in normal dictionaries; these are just two of many other words that are use but not precisely ‘ counted Another problem is there is no single person who can account for al the words in a language not to mention not knowing how to correctly define each one.
The author says that this is a complex problem that lately scholars have left alone, they have preferred to count individual ‘s vocabulary, to find out how many words an ordinary person knows. The English language s vocabulary was compiled (as best as possible) in the Oxford English dictionary by James Augustus Henry Murray, who created perhaps the greatest work of scholarship ever produced “(Bryon, page 152). This dictionary managed to describe much more vocabulary than had been done before.
Chapter Eleven: Old World, New World One of the most exiting moments in English literature (S. XIV-XIX) was the moment that new words were incorporated from the new world and as the first settlers explored they had new needs for new words to describe things that could not be described using old words. This favored a new exchange in vocabulary; languages (French, German, Dutch, The native-Indians, English, Spanish… ) were adopting words from each other to satisfy the new needs.
The author considers the year 1900 to be approximately when the new world starts, just as this need or demand for new words was stopping. English as a engage slowed down. In America at this time a great number of foreign immigrants settled in the newly formed country, and instead of conserving their birth-tongues they all seem to accept English and made a united form of English, they favored homogeneity. This in turn has created certain anguish and conflict apposing English to American, they differ in common speech about four thousand words, but are still the same language parse.
Chapter Twelve: English as a World Language In the modern world English is used from Yugoslavia to Spain, for graphic©s, signs… As an international form of communication. The author say ‘ s that without a doubt English is the most important language in the world today, but It could also be said that it is the most studied and emulated but not the most spoken. Most languages take words from English and use them, some don ‘t alter them but other feel the need to change them so they look like something national’ as they have not been so overjoyed at the wave of English words.
If it is so widely spoken nowadays it is not so much out of pleasure but out of need, in some cases people need to have a basic level in English to be TABLE to function in the world. A reason for this initialization of English is due to misunderstandings through translations of different languages. There has been the need for a neutral language a artificial language, the best attempt has been ‘Separates” but as expected it had shortcomings. The new approach is not to create a new language but to simplify and make English more accessible.
But if we all spoke the same, yes it would be more simple but also more boring. The author finishes the chapter by saying that native English speakers have to take care or the rest of the world will get better at speaking English than they are. Chapter Thirteen: Names A comical thing in the English language is the big differences there are between how they write their names and how they choose to pronounce them the author calls it “wayward genius”. This referring not just to people’s names, place names as well like pub’ .
In English place names there is normally some deep bedded history as with most popular surnames. (The study of names is called monomaniacs). Surnames as the author points out in this chapter are a recent invention before they were acquired over centuries, but by 1379 events made more of a necessity, the invention of poll tax and eater in 1413 when a law came out obligating people to use surnames in all official documents. In America it is harder to explain surnames origins due to the diver background of the natives.
Names and surnames change over time, people change them for multiple reasons, and they might not like their meaning of their pronunciation. This happens with place names as well, so not everything has a history behind it. In modern times names are being used as publicity, as a way of making money this often means companies and objects acquire new names to suit the times. Chapter Fourteen: Swearing Swearing differs from language to language as they rely on knowledge and understanding of the culture. Taboo words differ from country to country and often the worst ones only need to be inferred to be rude.
Some countries or cultures don ‘t swear at all. Swearing also has some similarities between cultures, most involve: filth, the forbidden (incest) and the sacred. English includes the impossible and the pleasurTABLE a well as most have some ‘ antiquity’ as the author puts it even if it is hard to trace some terms back to their origins as well as the added difficulty of meaning change over time due o social influence. The author says that in modern day English the three worst swear words are: Puck, Sit and Count.
In past times people would take more offense to profanity. (For example: God Adam, Jesus… ). English has a tendency to transform rude constructions in to harmless ones (For example: sit to sugar) The Victorian age was the most preoccupied with tabooed, but they took it to an extreme, they cancelled out many words that were not even offensive (For example: Stomach). Nowadays there is more freedom of speech, even in printing; and America and England have created their own efferent taboos to soot their culture.
Chapter Fifteen: Wordplay In the English language world play is used frequently in crossword puzzles in the newspapers as English speakers find great amusement in the comical usage of words. Another unique quality in English is the capability to create ambiguous sentences, amphibology. In other circumstances people weaved wordplay in to everyday language: most important ‘ boohooing a made-up language from California. Another example is cockney rhyming slang’ this has survived the pass of time a lot better and is still in use around London popular since the mid nineteenth century Example: To chew the fat comes from to have a chat.
Chapter Sixteen: The Future of English In U. S English and several other places where English has been spoken outside of England have said that linguistic divisions have caused unrest, leading even to violence ( Canada ; Belgium for example). In the U. S English ‘s case the government has said that a national-English-law could only apply to government business but people have a right to express themselves in private in whatever language they want even though they have not kept this entirely.