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English ******** history
The Lawgiver of English Usage: Henry Watson Fowler(******** history)
Educated at Rugby and Oxford's Balliol College, H.W. Fowler began his career by teaching English grammar for seventeen years at a Yorkshire secondary school for boys. When offered a promotion to housemaster, he quit and move to London. There, while proving to himself that it was possible to live on 100 pound sterling a year, he was a freelance journalist. Fowler made his real mark on the English ******** only after moving to the remote island of Guernsey in 1903. He and his brother, Francis George Fowler, proposed to write "a sort of English composition manual, from the negative point of view, for journalists & amateur writers." The outcome, The King's English, was published by the Oxford University Press and quickly became a de facto standard. Exposing the shortcomings of eminent writers, the tome offering but five basic commandments:
1. Prefer the familiar word to the far-fetched.2. Prefer the concrete to the abstract.3. Prefer the single word to the circumlocution.4. Prefer the short word to the long.5. Prefer the Saxon word to the Romance.
The majority of "Old English" words are lost to modern usage and have no descendants. Of the small core of survivors, most are readily familiar and seldom have abstract meanings. The roots are typically short and often contain a single syllable. Some have taken on meanings only indirectly related to those in Saxon times. And, others are downright awkward in contemporary usage. Fowler addressed these point in A Dictionary of Modern English Usage, first published in 1926 and still in print. He warns that:
"...conscious deliberate Saxionism is folly, that the choice or rejection of particular words should depend not on their descent but on considerations of expressiveness, intelligibility, brevity, euphony, or ease of handling, & yet that any writer who becomes aware that the Saxon or native English element in what he writes is small will do well to take that fact as a danger-signal."
(extract from "The Fowler Collection" site)
"Ow we spake" (the dialect of the Black Country)
The dialect of the area remains perhaps one of the last examples of early English still spoken today. The word endings with 'en' are still noticeable in conversation as in 'gooen' (going), callen (calling) and the vowel A is pronounced as O as in sond (sand), hond (hand) and mon (man).Other pronunciations are 'winder' for window, 'fer' for far, and 'loff' for laugh - exactly as Chaucer's English was spoken.
This "dictionary" is Black Country in general and not particularly Sedgley in origin. Local dialect was (and probably still is to a lesser degree) quite distinctive between the different towns and villages of the Black Country. My Grandmother reckoned that she could tell which village that a person came from by the way they spoke. This has probably changed today due to the greater mobility of people.
(extract from the Sedgley Manor site)
Earliest English cookbook rediscovered
A cookbook thought to be the earliest printed in English has been unearthed at the Marquis of Bath's ancestral seat.
It dates from 1500 and includes recipes for the likes of chopped sparrow and roasted swan.
The Daily Telegraph says it offers an invaluable culinary and cultural insight into the life of England's wealthiest and most influential people, including kings and archbishops.
A British Library spokesman described the book, entitled A Noble Book of Royal Feasts, as an extraordinary find.
He said recipe books from the medieval period are in existence, but this is the earliest known copy of a printed cook book in English.
"One feast listed was that served for George Nevill, who became Archbishop of York in 1465. It is a huge list of birds, including curlews, gannets, gulls, dotterels, larks, redshanks, peacocks, partridges, woodcocks, knots and sparrows.
"Henry V's coronation feast is also recorded and it included cygnets, trout, fried roach, perch, carp and lamprey. During the meal the King would have had swan, but everybody else would have eaten conger eel."
(extract from the "Ananova" site__________________________________________
What is "Hiberno-English"? Is it a dialect of English?
Bob Cunningham: Recalling Padraig's recent remarks about whether or not Hiberno-English should be considered to be a dialect of English, I've done a Google search and have come up with some remarks that seem to be pertinent.
University College Dublin has a *** site at www.ucd.ie. On a page of that site, at Staff Publications, there appear the following remarks:
===== Begin remarks =====
Hiberno-English is the name given to the Irish dialect of English. It differs from Standard English on two principal counts. First, it is a hybrid dialect, full of borrowings from the Irish ********, with words or phrases imported directly or in anglicised form ('meas', 'rawmaish', 'galore', and so on). Thus 'galore' is an anglicisation of the Irish 'go leor', meaning 'in abundance'. Galore has now passed into Standard English usage, but Hiberno-English is full of such formations which remain unique to Ireland. Irish also influences the grammar, as in 'I'm after writing a letter'.
The second strand in Hiberno-English comprises words obsolete in Standard English but still commonly used in Ireland. Thus a word like 'oxter', meaning an armpit, is still in general use in Ireland but passed out of Standard English around 1800. Similarly, words such as 'cog', to cheat in an exam, 'crack', 'bowsey' and 'delph' have retained their currency in Ireland.
In this pioneering work, Professor Dolan has prepared an accessible one volume dictionary of Hiberno-English.
===== End remarks =====
So far as I've seen, the page doesn't give an explicit reference to Professor Dolan's book. However, I happen to have a book called _A Dictionary of Hiberno-English_, subtitled "The Irish Use of English"; compiled and edited by Terence Patrick Dolan, published by Gill & Macmillan Ltd, Goldenbridge, Dublin 8; copyright Terence Patrick Dolan 1998. It seems reasonable to assume it's the book the UCD *** page is referring to.
(extract from the aue archives, article by Bob Cunningham, follow the link below for the complete thread)
"No lawful standard...": The Evolution of English Dictionaries
As early as 1582, in the Elementarie (a list of about 8,000 English words, but with no definitions), Richard Mulcaster had called for a dictionary which, in addition to providing for English words "the right writing, which is incident to the Alphabete, wold open vnto us therein, both their naturall force, and their proper use." But not until 150 years later, in Nathaniel Bailey's Universal Etymological English Dictionary (1721), did anyone try to list all the words in the ********. The earliest English dictionaries were not dictionaries at all in the modern sense, but rather lists of Latin words and their English *****alents or lists of "hard words" in English.
In 1730, Nathaniel Bailey produced his Dictionarium Britannicum. It encompassed 48,000 words and became the standard English dictionary until Samuel Johnson, using Bailey's work as a foundation, produced A Dictionary of the English ******** (1755). Johnson conceived his plan for the dictionary with the notion of "fixing" the ********.
One of the more remarkable features of Johnson's dictionary project was his relationship to Lord Chesterfield, who promised patronage but delivered only verbal allegiance:
I had long lamented, that we had no lawful standard of our ******** set up, for those to repair to, who might choose to speak and write it grammatically and correctly . . . . The time for discrimination seems to be now come. Toleration, adoption, and naturalization, have run their lengths. Good order and authority are now necessary. But where shall we find them, and at the same time the obedience due to them? We must have recourse to the old Roman expedient in times of confusion, and choose a Dictator. Upon this principle, I give my vote for Mr. Johnson to fill that great and arduous post. And I hereby declare that I make a total surrender of all my rights and privileges in the English ********, as a freeborn British subject, to the said Mr. Johnson, during the term of his dictatorship. Nay, more; I will not only obey him, like an old Roman, as my dictator, but, like a modern Roman, I will implicitly believe in him as my pope, and hold him to be infallible while in the chair; but no longer. (The World. November 28, 1754; quoted in Finegan 23)
(extracts from the "Virginia Tech" site, article by Daniel W. Mosser______________________________________
Is English the "Official" ******** of the UK?
Don Aitken: There has never been any law stating that English is the official ******** of the UK, although there is one (dating from the 18th century) requiring court records to be kept in English and not in French or Latin, as they were until that time. The Uk has no official ********, and I don't think anyone has ever suggested that it should have.
Henry Churchyard: Here are some semi-random facts:
ca. 1250 First book appears to teach French to children of upper classes in England Early 14th century Contemporary statements that all classes can speak English, while knowledge of French is somewhat limited 1362 For the first time, chancellor opens parliament in English. Lawsuits ordered to be conducted in English, not French. 2nd half of 14th century Schools generally switch over from French to English as ******** of instruction. (The subject matter which is taught is still mostly Latin, of course.) 1399 Henry IV comes to throne as first monarch speaking only English (apparently) 1404 English ambassadors negotiating with France insist that French not be used as the ******** of negotiations (instead, Latin is used) 1st half of 15th century Private letters between members of upper classes switch over from being generally in French to almost entirely in English 1422 London Brewers switch guild proceedings from French to English 1423 Parliamentary proceedings ("petitions of commons") start to appear in English. ca. 1430 "A large number of towns are seen translating their ordinances and their books of customs into English." late 1480's (first Tudor on throne) Parliamentary statutes are written down in English in their final form; effective disappearance of most of the last lingering uses of French in the internal domestic administration of England, though many French (and Latin) phrases remained in the ******** of the law.
(extract from the aue archives, articles by Don Aitken and Henry Churchyard)
12th & 13th Century English Textile Surnames
The sources for these surnames are Appendix 1, "Textile professions from BLC, EFF, and IPM grouped by occupation and role listed by property and year," and Appendix 2, "Textile professions from the control group selected by occupation and role listed by property and year" of The Textile Industry in Es*** in the late 12th and 13th Century by Michael Gervers.
While the given names and place names in the Appendix have been modernized, the surnames have been retained in their original forms. I have listed the surnames in alphabetical order, organized by their modern counterparts and with derivation notes. Following each name are the dates that the name was found. (I have not included duplicate instances; a specific spelling might have been found four times in 1254, but I have listed the date only once.)
(extract from Sara L. Friedemann's page on 12th & 13th Century English Textile Surnames)
The origin of the @ symbol
It's called the "at" or "ape tail" in English, the "arroba" in Spanish, the "chiocciola" in Italian. Everyone familiar with the internet knows we're talking about the symbol in an e-mail address separating the addressee's or sender's name from the server name : the "@" symbol. But where does this funny looking symbol come from ?
Following a few indications given by the School for Palaeography in Rome, Stabile consulted a collection of documents of 16th century Italian business men. The documents belong to the International Institute for history of the Economy "Francesco Datini" in Prado. After some browsing in the documents Stabile found that the @ symbol was formerly used to designate an "amphora". In those days this antique unit of measure was used a lot in the wine commerce, especially in Venice. But the origin of the @ symbol even goes back much further than the 16th century Venice. In an Arabic-Italian dictionary from 1492 Stabile found that the Arabic word written as "@" meant simply "amphora", confirming the previous finding.
That the @ symbol finally became part of cyberspace is due to Ray Tomlinson, an American engineer who is one of the founding fathers of the internet, or actually the Arpanet, the predecessor to the present internet. In 1972 Tomlinson invented a system for individual electronic mail, introducing the first "hot" application of the Arpanet. He used the @ symbol to distinguish a sender's or addressee's name from the name of the electronic mail box. According to Stabile, Tomlinson chose this symbol "just because it was on the keyboard".
(extract from "Kurt's Not Frequently Asked Questions" page
The Protean N-Word(Etymology)
Let's turn first to etymology. Nigger is derived from the Latin word for the color black, niger. According to the Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang, it did not originate as a slur but took on a derogatory connotation over time. Nigger and other words related to it have been spelled in a variety of ways, including niggah, nigguh, niggur, and niggar. When John Rolfe recorded in his journal the first shipment of Africans to Virginia in 1619, he listed them as "negars." A 1689 inventory of an estate in Brooklyn, New York, made mention of an enslaved "niggor" boy. The seminal lexicographer Noah ***ster referred to Negroes as "negers." (Currently some people insist upon distinguishing nigger--which they see as exclusively an insult--from nigga, which they view as a term capable of signaling friendly salutation.) In the 1700s niger appeared in what the dictionary describes as "dignified argumentation" such as Samuel Sewall's denunciation of slavery, The Selling of Joseph. No one knows precisely when or how niger turned derisively into nigger and attained a pejorative meaning. We do know, however, that by the end of the first third of the nineteenth century, nigger had already become a familiar and influential insult.
Nigger was also a standard element in Senator Huey P. Long's vocabulary, though many blacks appreciated the Louisiana Democrat's notable reluctance to indulge in race baiting. Interviewing "The Kingfish" in 1935, Roy Wilkins (working as a journalist in the days before he became a leader of the NAACP) noted that Long used the terms "nigra," "colored," and "nigger" with no apparent awareness that that last word would or should be viewed as offensive. By contrast, for Georgia governor Eugene Talmadge, nigger was not simply a designation he had been taught; it was also a tool of demagoguery that he self-consciously deployed. Asked by a white constituent about "Negroes attending our schools," Talmadge happily replied, "Before God, friend, the niggers will never go to a school which is white while I am governor."
(extract from the review of "Nigger: The Strange Career of a Troublesome Word" at the Amazon site)
Is the English ******** changing? (******** history)
Yes, and so is every other human ********. ******** is always changing, evolving, and adapting to the needs of its users. This isn't a bad thing; if English hadn't changed since, say, 1950, we wouldn't have words to refer to modems, fax machines, or cable TV. As long as the needs of ******** users continue to change, so will the ********. The change is so slow that from year to year we hardly notice it (except to grumble every so often about the 'poor English' being used by the younger generation!). But reading Shakespeare's writings from the sixteenth century can be difficult. If you go back a couple more centuries, Chaucer's Canterbury Tales are very tough sledding, and if you went back another 500 years to try to read Beowulf, it would be like reading a different ********.
Why does ******** change? ******** changes for several reasons. First, it changes because the needs of its speakers change. New technologies, new products, and new experiences require new words to refer to them clearly and efficiently. Consider the fax machine: Originally it was called a facsimile machine, because it allowed one person to send another a copy, or facsimile, of a document. As the machines became more common, people began using the shorter form fax to refer to both the machine and the document; from there, it was just a short step to using the word fax as a verb (as in I'll fax this over to Sylvia).
Another reason for change is that no two people have had exactly the same ******** experience. We all know a slightly different set of words and constructions, depending on our age, job, education level, region of the country, and so on. We pick up new words and phrases from all the different people we talk with, and these combine to make something new and unlike any other person's particular way of speaking. At the same time, various groups in society use ******** as a way of marking their group identity - showing who is and isn't a member of the group. Many of the changes that occur in ******** begin with teens and young adults: As young people interact with others their own age, their ******** grows to include words, phrases, and constructions that are different from those of the older generation. Some have a short life span (heard groovy lately?), but others stick around to affect the ******** as a whole.
We get new words from many different places. We borrow them from other ********s (sushi, chutzpah), we create them by shortening longer words (gym from gymnasium) or by combining words (brunch from breakfast and lunch), and we make them out of proper names (Levis, fahrenheit). Sometimes we even create a new word by being wrong about the analysis of an existing word. That's how the word pea was created: Four hundred years ago, the word pease was used to refer to either a single pea or a bunch of them. But over time, people assumed that pease was a plural form, for which pea must be the singular, and a new word - pea - was born. (The same thing would happen if people began to think of the word cheese as referring to more than one chee.)
Word order also changes, though this process is much slower. Old English word order was much more 'free' than that of Modern English, and even comparing the Early Modern English of the King James Bible with today's English shows differences in word order. For example, the King James Bible translates Matthew 6:28 as "Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not." In a more recent translation, the last phrase is translated as "they do not toil". English no longer places not after the verb in a sentence.
Finally, the sounds of a ******** change over time, too. About 500 years ago English began to undergo a major change in the way its vowels were pronounced. Before that, geese would have rhymed with today's pronunciation of face, while mice would have rhymed with today's peace. But then a 'Great Vowel Shift' began to occur, during which the ay sound (as in pay) changed to ee (as in fee) in all the words containing it, while the ee sound changed to i (as in pie). In all, seven different vowel sounds were affected. If you've ever wondered why most other European ********s spell the sound ay with an e (as in fianc) and the sound ee with an i (as in aria), it's because those ********s didn't undergo the Great Vowel Shift. Only English did.
(extract from the Linguistic Society of America FAQ)