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Sunday, October 6, 2013

Break From Politics: The English Language

John McWhorter offers a brief history of plural nouns in the English language (hat tip to 1389 Blog):

TEDEd: Lessons Worth Sharing


  1. Wow AOW! That was one of the best lessons I have seen on here, with the exception to the one you taught your students regarding 9/11. I am re-teaching myself German at home and never knew or imagined that English and German were once the same language. How fascinating. I am also learning Spanish (not by choice, but if you want to work in this nation you are forced to learn it) and I could not figure out why I was doing better in German than is Spanish, since in reality German really is the more difficult of the two. Either than or I have a mental block against learning Spanish because that equates with appeasement of an ethnic group that the majority are here illegally and not following and obeying our laws.

    I really enjoyed this lesson as I said, but it was educational and I enjoyed learning that it was the Vikings that basically "cleaned the English language up" so-to-speak.

    Have a blessed day! :)


  2. Sorry the typos and whatever.....I am so awful before my second cup of coffee (still on my first cup)!


  3. ShutNado alert! ShutNado alert!

    YORK — After winning a battle with the National Park Service last year to keep his restaurant's location in Yorktown, Glenn Helseth awoke on Tuesday to learn the Carrot Tree was an instant victim to the federal government shutdown.

    Carrot Tree's Yorktown location is on Main Street in the Cole Digges House, which is owned by the National Park Service. Helseth said park officials told him Tuesday that he had 48 hours to remove any equipment or paper work, then he would no longer have access to the building.

    "If I have forgotten to take something critical if I try to go back into the building I'll be trespassing," Helseth said Wednesday.

    Carrot Tree's location at Historic Jamestowne is also affected by the government shutdown. Although that building is owned by Preservation Virginia, the restaurant is effectively closed because Historic Jamestowne is closed with access to Jamestown Island blocked by barricades.

    Carrot Tree's location on Jamestown Road, which is in a privately owned building, remains open.

    Helseth said 12 full-time employees and several seasonal employees are affected by the closures.

    In addition to feeling frustrated, Helseth said the Park Service's decision to close buildings occupied by concessionaires is unfair. He said as a renter, Carrot Tree is responsible for paying the insurance, maintenance and utilities for the building.

    "They own the building but it's not like they contribute to the day-to-day operations of the restaurant," Helseth said.

  4. English, probably because it is the most complex and difficult language to learn thoroughly, has provided me a lifelong source of passion and endless fascination.

    I believe the British Isles were first inhabited by Celtic tribes who I remember reading somewhere probably migrated from the region where India and Pakistan are today. The Celtic tribes developed tribal nations in Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Cornwall.

    The English language, itself, began as a Teutonic (Germanic) language because of the early dominance of Angles, Saxons, and Jutes. I'm not sure whether it was the Vikings or the Romans who came first, but both had a profound impact on language, culture and ethno-genetic makeup. Then came the Norman Invasion in 1066, AD, and a strong French influence entered and altered the language and the culture.

    SO, with a history that made English a composite of Celtic, Latin, Teutonic, Norse and French with lots of Greek thrown in by scholars and scientists it no wonder even the English-speaking peoples, themselves, often fail to master its grammatical, syntactical and eytemological complexities.

    Because of the hideous influence of mass communication via radio, television, pseudo-Egalitarianism, and Multiculturalism, the language, which reached peaks of glorious literary achievement from the Elizabethan period till the mid-twentieth century, has put English comprehension, style, character and every day usage into an alarmingly steep decline.

    Lately, I've seen printed recipes that call for "shrimps."

    Lobsters and crabs will doubtless soon be scuttling to catch up to find their place on modern menus, I'm sure. Next you'll hear people singing Home on the Range where the deers and the antelopes play.

    "What does it matter?"

    Maybe it doesn't after all? We're going to lose it anyway no matter how we strive to preserve it. Popular opinion is firmly against the practice of precision and the pursuit of excellence. It's considered snobbish and unkind to the majority to try to excel, I suppose.

    1. Excellent. Very interesting and I learned much from your response. Thank you so much.

  5. I just love thoroughly entertaining history! Great snippet!


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