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Historia języka angielskiego


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Temat: Edukacja

The history of English in ten minutes chapter one - Anglo Saxon
or whatever happened to the Jutes?
The English language begins with the phrase 'Up Yours, Caesar'
as the romans leave Britain and a lot of Germanic tribes start flooding in
tribes such as the Angles and the Saxons who together gave us the term 'anglo-saxon'
and the Jutes, who didn't
The Romans left some very straight roads behind
but much of their latin language
the anglo-saxon vocab was much more useful
as it was mainly words for simple everyday things
like house, women, loaf, and werewolve
four of our days of the week were named in honour of anglo-saxon gods
they didn't bother with saturday, sunday and monday
as they've all gone off for a long weekend
while they're away christian missionaries stole in
bringing with them leaflets about jumble sales and more latin
Christianity was a hit with the locals
and made them much happy to take on funky new words
like 'martyr', 'bishop' and 'font'
along came the Vikings with their 'Action-Man'-words
like 'drag', 'ransack', 'thrust' and 'die'
they may have raped and pillaged but they were also
into 'give' and 'take' - two of around two thousand words they gave English
as well as the phrase 'watch out for that man with the enormous axe!'
Chapter two the Norman conquest or excuse my English
1066 - true to his name William the Conquerer
invades England, bringin new concepts from accross the channel like
the French language, the doomsday book and duty-free gauloise multi pack
French was de rigeur for all official business
with words like 'judge', 'jury', 'evidence' and 'justice' coming in and giving John Grisham's career a kick-start
Latin was still used ad nauseam in Church, but the common man spoke English
able to communicate only by speaking more slowly and loudly until the others understood him
Words like cow, sheep and swine come from the English-speaking farmers
while the a la carte versions 'beef', 'mutton' and 'pork' come from the French-speaking toffs
beginning a long running trend for restaurants having completely indecipherable menus
All in all the English absorbed about 10000 thousands new words from the Normans
but they still couldn't grasp the rules of cheek kissing
The bonhomie all ended when the English nation took their new warlike lingo
of 'armies', 'navies' and 'soldiers' and began the Hundred Years War against France
It actually lasted 116 years but by that point no one could count any higher in French and English took over as the language of power
Chapter three - Shakespeare
or a plaque on both his houses
As the dictionary tells us, about 2000 new words and phrases were invented by Shakespeare
He gave us handy words like ‘eyeball’, ‘puppy-dog’ and ‘anchovy’
and more show-offy words like ‘dauntless’, ‘besmirch’ and ‘lacklustre’
He came up with the word ‘alligator’, soon after he ran out of things to rhyme with ‘crocodile’
And a nation of tea-drinkers finally took him to their hearts when he invented the ‘hobnob’
Shakespeare knew the power of catchphrases as well as biscuits.
Without him we would never eat our ‘flesh and blood’ ‘out of house and home’
we’d have to say ‘good riddance’ to ‘the green-eyed monster’ and ‘breaking the ice’ would be ‘as dead as a doornail’
If you tried to get your ‘money’s worth’ you’d be given ‘short shrift’
and anyone who ‘laid it on with a trowel’ could be ‘hoist with his own petard’
Of course it’s possible other people used these words first
but the dictionary writers liked looking them up in Shakespeare
because there was more cross-dressing and people poking each other’s eyes out
Shakespeare’s poetry showed the world that English was a as rich vibrant language with limitless expressive and emotional power
And he still had time to open all those tearooms in Stratford
Chapter 4 - The King James Bible or let there be light reading
In 1611 ‘the powers that be’ ‘turned the world upside down’ with a ‘labour of love’ – a new translation of the bible
A team of scribes with the ‘wisdom of Solomon’ - ‘went the extra mile’ to make King James’s translation ‘all things to all men’
whether from their ‘heart’s desire’ ‘to fight the good fight’ or just for the ‘filthy lucre’
This sexy new Bible went ‘from strength to strength’, getting to ‘the root of the matter’
in a language even ‘the salt of the earth’ could understand
‘The writing wasn’t on the wall’, it was in handy little books and with ‘fire and brimstone’ preachers reading from it in every church
its words and phrases ‘took root’ ‘to the ends of the earth’ – well at least the ends of Britain
The King James Bible is the book that taught us that ‘a leopard can’t change its spots’
that ‘a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush’
that ‘a wolf in sheep’s clothing’ is harder to spot than you would imagine, and how annoying it is to have ‘a fly in your ointment’
In fact, just as ‘Jonathan begat Meribbaal; and Meribbaal begat Micah.
the King James Bible begat a whole glossary of metaphor and morality that still shapes the way English is spoken today.
Amen
Chapter 5 - The English of Science - or how to speak with gravity
Before the 17th Century scientists weren’t really recognised – possibly because lab-coats had yet to catch on
But suddenly Britain was full of physicists – there was Robert Hooke, Robert Boyle – and even some people not called Robert, like Isaac Newton
The Royal Society was formed out of the Invisible College
after they put it down somewhere and couldn’t find it again
At first they worked in Latin
After sitting through Newton’s story about the ‘pomum’ falling to the ‘terra’ from the ‘arbor’ for the umpteenth time
the bright sparks realised they all spoke English
and could transform our understanding of the universe much quicker by talking in their own language
But science was discovering things faster than they could name them
Words like ‘acid’, ‘gravity’, ‘electricity and ‘pendulum’
had to be invented just to stop their meetings turning into an endless game of charades
Like teenage boys, the scientists suddenly became aware of the human body
coining new words like ‘cardiac’ and ‘tonsil’, ‘ovary’, and ‘sternum’
and the invention of ‘penis’ (1693), ‘vagina’ (1682) made sex education classes a bit easier to follow
Though and ‘clitoris’ was still a source of confusion
Chapter 6 - English and Empire or the sun never sets on the English language
With English making its name as the language of science, the Bible and Shakespeare, Britain decided to take it on tour
Asking only for land, wealth, natural resources, total obedience to the crown and a few local words in return
They went to the Caribbean looking for gold and a chance to really unwind
discovering the ‘barbeque’, the ‘canoe’ and a pretty good recipe for rum punch
They also brought back the word ‘cannibal’ to make their trip sound more exciting
In India there was something for everyone. ‘Yoga’ – to help you stay in shape, while pretending to be spiritual
If that didn’t work there was the ‘cummerbund’ to hide a paunch
and if you couldn’t even make it up the stairs without turning ‘crimson’
they had the ‘bungalow’
Meanwhile in Africa they picked up words like ‘voodoo’ and ‘zombie’ – kicking off the teen horror film
From Australia, English took the words ‘nugget’, ‘boomerang’ and ‘walkabout’ - and in fact the whole concept of chain pubs
Between toppling Napoleon (1815) and the first World War (1914), the British Empire gobbled up around 10 millions square miles,
400 million people and nearly a hundred thousand gin and tonics, leaving new varieties of English to develop all over the globe
Chapter 7 - The Age of the Dictionary or the definition of a hopeless task
With English expanding in all directions, along came a new breed of men called lexicographers, who wanted to put an end to this anarchy
a word they defined as ‘what happens when people spell words slightly differently from each other'
One of the greatest was Doctor Johnson, whose ‘Dictionary of the English Language’ which took him 9 years to write
It was 18 inches tall and contained 42,773 entries, meaning that even if you couldn’t read, it was still pretty useful if you wanted to reach a high shelf
For the first time, when people were calling you ‘a pickle herring’ a ‘jobbernowl or a ‘fopdoodle
you could understand exactly what they meant and you’d have the consolation of knowing they all used the standard spelling
Try as he might to stop them, words kept being invented and in 1857 a new book was started which would become the Oxford English Dictionary
It took another 70 years to be finished after the first editor resigned to be an Archbishop
the second died of TB and the third was so boring that half his volunteers quit and one of the ended up in an Asylum
It eventually appeared in 1928 and has continued to be revised ever since – proving the whole idea that you can stop people making up words is complete snuffbumble
Chapter 8 - American English or not English but somewhere in the ballpark
From the moment Brits landed in America they needed names for all the plants and animals
so they borrowed words like ‘raccoon’, ‘squash’ and ‘moose’ from the Native Americans, as well as most of their territory
Waves of immigrants fed America’s hunger for words. The Dutch came sharing ‘coleslaw’ and ‘cookies’ – probably as a result of their relaxed attitude to drugs
Later, the Germans arrived selling ‘pretzels’ from ‘delicatessens’
and the Italians arrived with their ‘pizza’, their ‘pasta’ and their ‘mafia’, just like mamma used to make
America spread a new language of capitalism – getting everyone worried about the ‘breakeven’ and ‘the bottom line’
and whether they were ‘blue chip’ or ‘white collar'
The commuter needed a whole new system of ‘freeways’, ‘subways’ and ‘parking lots’
and quickly, before words like ‘merger’ and ‘downsizing’ could be invented
American English drifted back across the pond as Brits ‘got the hang of’ their ‘cool movies’, and their ‘groovy’ ‘jazz’
There were even some old forgotten English words that lived on in America
So they carried on using ‘fall’, ‘faucets’, ‘diapers’ and ‘candy’, while the Brits moved on to ‘autumn’, ‘taps’, ‘nappies’ and NHS dental care
Chapter 9 - Internet English or reverts to type
In 1972 the first email was sent. Soon the Internet arrived – a free global space to share information, ideas and amusing pictures of cats
Before then English changed through people speaking it – but the net brought typing back into fashion and hundreds of cases of repetitive strain injury
Nobody had ever had to ‘download’ anything before, let alone use a ‘toolbar’
And the only time someone set up a ‘firewall’, it ended with a massive insurance claim and a huge pile of charred wallpaper
Conversations were getting shorter than the average attention span
why bother writing a sentence when an abbreviation would do and leave you more time to ‘blog’, ‘poke’ and ‘reboot’ when your ‘hard drive’ crashed
‘In my humble opinion’ became ‘IMHO, ‘by the way’ became ‘BTW and ‘if we’re honest that life-threatening accident was pretty hilarious!’ simply became ‘fail'
Some changes even passed into spoken English
For your information people frequently asked questions like “how can ‘LOL’ mean ‘laugh out loud’ and ‘lots of love’?
But if you’re going to complain about that then UG2BK
Chapter 10 - Global English or whose language is it anyway?
In the 1500 years since the Roman’s left Britain, English has shown an unique ability to absorb, evolve, invade and, if we’re honest, steal
After foreign settlers got it started, it grew into a fully-fledged language all of its own, before leaving home and travelling the world
first via the high seas, then via the high speed broadband connection, pilfering words from over 350 languages and establishing itself as a global institution
All this despite a written alphabet that bears no correlation to how it sounds and a system of spelling that even Dan Brown couldn’t decipher
Right now around 1.5 billion people now speak English
Of these about a quarter are native speakers, a quarter speak it as their second language, and half are able to ask for directionsto a swimming pool
There’s Hinglish – which is Hindi-English
Chinglish – which is Chinese-English
and Singlish – which is Singaporean English – and not that bit when they speak in musicals
So in conclusion, the language has got so little to do with England these days it may well be time to stop calling it ‘English’
But if someone does think up a new name for it, it should probably be in Chinese
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