Greetings and welcome to our midweek open topic. It ‘s been a very long few days in politics where friendships were strained, however with good will; and a vision for the future; and a passion that this old world may it become a become a better place, it seems that we’ve all survived.
It has been pointed out to me that punctuation is important. Well not usually so, but sometimes it is. The one that comes to mind is the Cole Porter song:
What is this thing called love.
Clearly a comma, an apostrophe and a question mark is of utmost importance, as the sentence becomes:
What’s this thing called, love?
On the subject of language, and the intricacies thereof, one of my passions has been the evolution of the English language. The bare bones of it aren’t much more than a history lesson: the language which we now call English being a blend of many languages, even the original Anglo-Saxon was already a blend of the dialects of west Germanic tribes living along the North Sea coast – the Saxons in Germany and the eastern part of Holland, the Jutes, and the Angles, and northern Franks from southern Holland.
It has within all of our lifetimes that language has had cultural implications: French, being the language of diplomacy and romance; Latin, being the language of the Roman Catholic church; Greek, the language of philosophy and science and medicine. Added to this were many other idioms from native peoples including our own – Aboriginal words are in our everyday language in place names mostly, which give recognition as to who were the original inhabitants, words from the Indian subcontinent, from native American, Mexican words. There are so many words which we speak every day and yet we do not realize their ethnic origin.
Our borrowed words which are mostly from the 16th Century include: giraffe, tiger, pyjama, turban, chocolate, orange, admiral, parliament.
For those who may never have studied Chaucer here is late 14th Century English, from Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales”:
I find this fascinating, that after all this time, with a little concentration and a little imagination that we can understand exactly what people all those years ago were saying. I do hope that our descendants will be as fortunate.