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The Birth of the English Language

Autor:   •  August 17, 2017  •  Creative Writing  •  517 Words (3 Pages)  •  285 Views

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The birth of the English languag




This video shows us the remarkable story of the English language from its modest beginnings around 500 A.D. as a minor guttural Germanic dialect to its position today as a truly established global language. Along the way its colorful story takes in a host of characters, locations, and events, from the early Anglo-Saxon tribes; Alfred the Great's stubborn resistance to the Danes; the impact of the Norman invasion in 1066; the "arrival" of such masterpieces as Beowulf and The Canterbury Tales, not to mention a "coarse" playwright named William Shakespeare (who alone contributed 2,000 new words to the language!); the songs of the Creole slaves and the words of Davy Crockett; and Lewis and Clark's expedition west, which coined hundreds of new terms as they discovered hitherto unknown flora and fauna. Embracing elements of Latin, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Arabic, Hindi, and Gullah, this 1,500-year story covers a huge range of countries and peoples. The Adventure of English is an enthralling story not only of power, religion, and trade but also of people and how they changed. And continue to change the extraordinary language that is English.

The modern Frisian language is the closest sounding language to the English used approximately 2000 years ago, when the people from what is now the north of the Netherlands travelled to what would become England, and pushed the Celtic language - ancestor of modern Welsh - (Celts) to the western side of the island. Words like "blue" can be recognized in the Frisian language.

Bragg then discusses how English dialects in certain areas of the United Kingdom were heavily influenced by historical events such as the invasion of the Vikings in the east, contributing words such as "sky" to the English language.

Short video clips of discussions with language expert Kathryn A. Lowe appear a number of times during the episode; she offers wonderful insight into the evolution of Anglo-Saxon and Old English. The English original antique was then influenced by two invasive waves: the first was of speakers of the Scandinavian branch of the Germanic languages, who conquered and colonized parts of Britain in the eighth and ninth centuries; the second was the Normans in the eleventh century, who spoke Old Norman and developed a variety of English known as Anglo-normed. These two invasions caused English to be mixed to some extent.


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