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The Adventure of English

Posted: Fri Jan 27, 2006 10:46 pm
by gdavidxxx
I recently read a book that should be of interest to any lover of words and language; The Adventure of English by Melvyn Bragg tells the story of how a humble but tenacious language, brought to the British Isles by invading Teutonic tribes, grew into the wonderfully rich, vital and descriptive language it is today. Norman conquerors failed to extinguish the Anglo-Saxon tongue, as had invading Danes and Vikings, but these, and languages the world over,have made contributions to our word trove. Our shameless willingness to invent, play with, and assimilate other languages are part of the reason for English's wide appeal, influence and distribution. I heartily recommend this book; it is a great overview of the sources of, and influences upon, the English language.

Re: The Adventure of English

Posted: Sat Jan 28, 2006 6:00 am
by frank
gdavidxxx wrote:Our shameless willingness to invent, play with, and assimilate other languages are part of the reason for English's wide appeal, influence and distribution.

Don't forget the sometimes brutal colonisation of big parts of this world, the post war Anglosaxon, but especially American entertainment industry and economic dominance, and the fact that English in this era is a pluricentric (USA, Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand).

I heartily recommend this book; it is a great overview of the sources of, and influences upon, the English language.

Melvyn Bragg is indeed an interesting guy. Some of his radio programs can be found here.

Frank

Posted: Sat Jan 28, 2006 7:03 am
by Grogie
Thanks gdavidxxx. It sounds like a very interesting book indeed.

Posted: Fri Feb 03, 2006 4:54 am
by portokalos
:D

Posted: Sat Feb 04, 2006 9:48 am
by Andrew Dalby
portokalos wrote:Why he separates the Normans with the Danes and Vikings? The military invading does not involve and the cultural conquest. The Anglo-Saxon had already hyper culture than that tribes.


I suppose he treats them separately because, as maybe you intend to say, the Norman invasion had a permanent effect, both linguistic and cultural. But the Vikings, too, had a strong influence on the English language (which is Bragg's subject). Many common words in standard English are Viking in origin; also many more words in dialects of eastern England.

Yes, it could be argued that the Anglo-Saxons had 'higher' culture than any of those medieval invaders, but, in fact, they nearly fell to Viking/Danish invasion and they really did fall to Norman invasion. Whatever their culture, they lacked military strength.

Posted: Fri Apr 14, 2006 1:03 pm
by hotshoe
it could be argued that the Anglo-Saxons had 'higher' culture than any of those medieval invaders, but, in fact, they nearly fell to Viking/Danish invasion and they really did fall to Norman invasion. Whatever their culture, they lacked military strength.


H'm. I disagree with both statements, I think. A great deal of Anglo-Saxon "culture" was acquired by assimilation, and they bred good warriors and a few good generals. They were repeatedly conquered by better strategy, tactics, technology or ferocity, but England still stands, does it not?

Posted: Sat Apr 15, 2006 8:32 pm
by Stargzer
hotshoe wrote: . . . A great deal of Anglo-Saxon "culture" was acquired by assimilation, and they bred good warriors and a few good generals. They were repeatedly conquered by better strategy, tactics, technology or ferocity, but England still stands, does it not?


Anglo-Saxsons: the original Borg! Assimilating the best military minds since 1066 AD.

No wonder the French lost all their major wars in the 20th century. :wink:

Posted: Thu Nov 30, 2006 10:49 pm
by Ferrus
Anglo-French was only ever cultivated among an elite which is why it didn't survive, especially prior to the mass-media and mass-education now used by the elite to cultivate linguistic uniformity.

Posted: Sun Jan 31, 2010 2:06 pm
by LukeJavan8
There sure are a lot of dead thread, especially in 2006,or
so it seems to me.

I had to post here because the analogy of the
Anglo-Saxons as the original Borg, really got me
laughing. I love it. Glad I found it. "Resistance is
futile".
I have never used the word "futile" until they came along.