Wednesday, 4 February 2015

English: The Best Language in the World ...

English:  The Best Language in the World ... also classed as one of the most difficult, ambiguous and tricky.  Perhaps.  One of the joys of the English Language is the variety of the vocabulary sources.  Flick through a Dictionary and what do you find?

I = from the Old Saxon of 'ik', Old Norse of 'ek', Indo-European of 'ego' (check out the Latin too).
Will = from the Old English of 'willan' or 'wyllan', Old Norse of 'uilja' and Germanic 'wel'.
Telephone = from two words: tele and phone.  So we look at 'tele' from the Greek of 'far off' and 'phone' from the Greek of 'phone' meaning 'voice' or 'sound'.
You = from the Old English 'eow' and the Old Saxon 'ju' and the West Germanic 'iwwiz'.
This = from the Old English 'thes', Old Saxon 'these' and the Old Higher German 'dese'.
Evening = from the Old English 'aefnung'.

Now say the words in bold aloud replacing them with one of the original archaic words.  You will 'hear' some similarities to the modern sentence but it will also demonstrate how much English has evolved over the years.

We haven't even touched on some of the French or Celtic words which filter into our everyday lives.

Are we doing enough to protect the English Language?  In France, the Academie Francais fiercely defends the purification of the French language.  This is the key reason French is so pure and fine when translated; plus it is a remarkably polite language to use.  It is literally all about entente cordiale.

One of the pleasures of writing poetry is to drill down and quarry out each word.  I don't write for performance poetry (I'm not an actress and have no intentions of being one) as to me the word itself has to stand up out of the page and really mean what it says.  That can become more difficult in poetry that rhymes, or like a rendition of 'Under Milk Wood' by Dylan Thomas, the actual sound of each word adds a remarkable weight to the picture formed in the reader or listeners mind.

Poetry and pictures.  More to follow.


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