Presented by: John Cowan

Review written by:  Sheila Twine 

26 members enjoyed an informative talk on the English Language from its very beginning to the present day.   John showed us maps of how the Indo-European languages spread and developed from somewhere to the North of the Black Sea from prehistoric times.    His sources of Robert McCrum, William Cran and Robert MacNeil showed us that our language is a hybrid which is rule based, but allowing for generative creation.  He showed us how language and its development had a significant effect on human behavior enabling the flow of ideas.476. John Cowan 349x336

People began moving in a westerly direction with branches traveling North to Scandinavia creating the Norse tongues, and South creating Mediterranean languages.  Germanic and Celtic tongues started to grow away from one another.   The Anglo-Saxons spread onto the Island which was to become Britain, with the Picts and Scots occupying the Northern latitudes.  Another major influence for the English language was the invasion of the Vikings, which brought many Norse words into common usage during Dane-Law times in the 8th and 9th centuries.

By the 14th Century in Britain, English was spoken by most of society, though Chaucer’s English is hard to understand today.  The court language was French and church sermons were still conducted in Latin.   In 1603 there was a linguistic break-through in ecclesiastical terms as James the VI of Scotland became James I of England and rewrote the bible, which still bears his name, in English, so that the common people could learn to read this significant book.  Scots and English expanded into Ireland and from there the Irish/Scots moved to the New World and American English became a feature from the 1770s, through to independence in 1890 and beyond. Pidgin was another feature of English which spread around the trade routes of the World.

So, in its journey, the English language has been influenced by many differing tongues making it the hybrid and extensive language it is today.  It is still developing and is spoken in many of the developed countries of the World.

 

26 members enjoyed an informative talk on the English Language from its very beginning to the present day.   John showed us maps of how the Indo-European languages spread and developed from somewhere to the North of the Black Sea from prehistoric times.    His sources of Robert McCrum, William Cran and Robert MacNeil showed us that our language is a hybrid which is rule based, but allowing for generative creation.  He showed us how language and its development had a significant effect on human behavior enabling the flow of ideas.

476. John Cowan 349x336 People began moving in a westerly direction with branches traveling North to Scandinavia creating the Norse tongues, and South creating Mediterranean languages.  Germanic and Celtic tongues started to grow away from one another.   The Anglo-Saxons spread onto the Island which was to become Britain, with the Picts and Scots occupying the Northern latitudes.  Another major influence for the English language was the invasion of the Vikings, which brought many Norse words into common usage during Dane-Law times in the 8th and 9th centuries.

By the 14th Century in Britain, English was spoken by most of society, though Chaucer’s English is hard to understand today.  The court language was French and church sermons were still conducted in Latin.   In 1603 there was a linguistic break-through in ecclesiastical terms as James the VI of Scotland became James I of England and rewrote the bible, which still bears his name, in English, so that the common people could learn to read this significant book.  Scots and English expanded into Ireland and from there the Irish/Scots moved to the New World and American English became a feature from the 1770s, through to independence in 1890 and beyond. Pidgin was another feature of English which spread around the trade routes of the World.

So, in its journey, the English language has been influenced by many differing tongues making it the hybrid and extensive language it is today.  It is still developing and is spoken in many of the developed countries of the World.

30/06/15

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