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Re: THE

Postby Perry Lassiter » Sun Jan 20, 2013 10:57 pm

Most I know do: Sp, Fr, Ger, It, pretty sure Portugese, Hebrew (ancient), Greek. Don't think the oriental languages of the far east do. Latin did. A couple are less likely to use the indefinite article, but in all the Latin and Gr the articles agree in gender and number with the noun. English got rid of the gender, which is why you hear Hispanic and others referring to objects as "she," now and then.
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Re: THE

Postby Philip Hudson » Sun Jan 20, 2013 11:43 pm

My advanced Chinese students of English, in informal conversation, still say things like, “Female parent call me. He is well.” That is why I say that English articles and pronouns are a bane to the Asian and a boon to the rest of the European languages. I will augment that with praise for our verbs. English, on its way from being Old English (think Beowulf) to Middle English (think Chaucer) had a fortunate turn. During and after the Norman Conquest, Norman French was the official language of England. It had little effect on the English language, French additions to English being of a later origin. What it did was give English a chance to muddle itself into a distributive, and thus superior, language. By the beginning of modern English (think Shakespeare) English had become the greatest artifact that humanity has ever crafted. Later grammarians tried to push us into a Latin grammar mode. Fortunately we have pretty much, but not totally, freed ourselves of this heresy. Now, if we could only spell and punctuate.
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Re: THE

Postby Perry Lassiter » Mon Jan 21, 2013 3:15 pm

Odd, for Latin spelling, like Spanish was relatively easy. Even with irregular verbs, if you can pronounce them, you can spell them. And only advanced writing gives punctuation problems.
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Re: THE

Postby misterdoe » Tue Jan 22, 2013 4:18 pm

Philip Hudson wrote:English, on its way from being Old English (think Beowulf) to Middle English (think Chaucer) had a fortunate turn. During and after the Norman Conquest, Norman French was the official language of England. It had little effect on the English language, French additions to English being of a later origin.

Shouldn't that be little immediate effect? I've read that Anglo-Norman, the informal speech of the Norman upper classes in England, coexisted with the Old English of the common people, gradually moving toward each other until they merged, more or less, as Middle English.
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Re: THE

Postby Philip Hudson » Tue Jan 22, 2013 9:13 pm

Charlton Laird, an American linguist and lexicographer, wrote, "Comparatively few French words were borrowed into English during Anglo Norman Times." Laird explains that the average English person went to law in French and worshipped in Latin. But when mama spanked little Athéldwold, she did it in English. Sir Walter Scott had a little play on English versus French in Ivanhoe. Swineherds discussed how pig becomes pork when it is served to the Norman lords. The English that came out of the Norman Conquest, while grammatically changed, was still very much English.

I think the source of the gradual merger of Old English with French that you have read is in error.
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Re: THE

Postby Perry Lassiter » Wed Jan 23, 2013 1:22 am

But wouldn't some sort of interplay have happened? The lords would have had serfs for servants, asked them questions and gave them directions. I would expect each to have influenced the other. Without as much communication, I would expect a proliferation of local dialects.
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Re: THE

Postby Philip Hudson » Wed Jan 23, 2013 2:29 am

The only judgment that can possibly be made is to look at Middle English writing as it developed under Norman rule and count the Norman French words as they appear. This method has produced a paucity of French words coming into English in the 12th century, a few more in the 13th century and then a plethora in the 14th century, after Middle English was well established. Since we are using written words, and hence the work of literate men, I should think they would have used more words borrowed from French than the unlettered man.

See how slowly the English language came to be used among most Spanish speakers in Texas. In early Texas, the English words of trabjao, work, were often learned by the Hispanic patrón but the next level of labor was not influenced at all by English. More likely, the English speaker learned the Spanish words of trabajo to communicate with Hispanics who do not speak English. Now, of course, this has changed, and it is only the recent immigrant who doesn’t speak much English. All my Hispanic family members and friends not only speak English well, they speak it with a Texas accent.

The Middle English speakers spoke Norman French as a foreign language. Very little was brought home to the family. How many lawyers children today know the stilted pseudo-French that is used in our law courts? Do you know it? I know very little and what I know I got from watching Perry Mason.
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Re: THE

Postby MTC » Wed Jan 23, 2013 8:15 am

Philip wrote:
"How many lawyers children today know the stilted pseudo-French that is used in our law courts? Do you know it? I know very little and what I know I got from watching Perry Mason."

This would account for the baffled looks I've received from the court while arguing in English. Did you perhaps mean the law courts in Louisiana?
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Re: THE

Postby Philip Hudson » Wed Jan 23, 2013 6:04 pm

Louisiana differs from other states in that English Common Law is used in all other states to decide issues that are not covered by written laws. I am not sure how that is different in Louisiana, I just know it is different. Perhaps Perry can enlighten us. I believe Perry's father was a Louisiana lawyer.

Pseudo-French/Latin is used by lawyers in all the states. I am referring to words like voir dire, de jure, dictum, ab initio, ad litem and so on.
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Re: THE

Postby Perry Lassiter » Wed Jan 23, 2013 10:21 pm

The equivalent of English common law in LA is French common law. Since I'm not a lawyer, i don't know the specifics, though I have read about some cases where it was important. If you didn't do law school at LSU or Tulane, lawyers coming into the state need to check out the differences.

Actually Spain ruled LA as much as France, and it's still reflected in the architecture. Reminds me of Texas famous six flags.
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Re: THE

Postby Philip Hudson » Wed Jan 23, 2013 11:38 pm

Six flags over Texas. Four flags over Louisiana. Well, five if you count the brief flying of the British flag over New Orleans before Andrew Jackson, Davy Crockett and the other Tennesseeans, one my noble ancestor, routed them. Did I miscount?
See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZuQwxUEPFD4
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Re: THE

Postby Perry Lassiter » Thu Jan 24, 2013 3:23 pm

I think five is correct. When you are piling up stats, count everything!
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Re: THE

Postby misterdoe » Tue Feb 19, 2013 10:09 pm

The video surprised me. I fully expected the band to sing "really gave 'em hell," rather than skipping over "hell" like the original version way back when. But I think you forgot a flag: the Lone Star flag that now serves as state flag of Texas was inspired by the flag of the Republic of West Florida, whose territory included the Florida Parishes of Louisiana, which lie east of the Mississippi and were thus not part of the Louisiana Purchase. When the republic's territory was annexed by the US, and added to the Orleans Territory, some West Floridians fled to Texas and took the "lone star flag" idea with them.
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Re: THE

Postby Philip Hudson » Thu Feb 21, 2013 2:33 am

I think I am pretty well up on American History, but this is the first notice I have ever had of the Republic of West Florida. Sure enough, they had a lone star flag. I can't find any direct reference to their bringing the idea of the lone star to Texas but they may have.
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