The Story of English Alan D. DeSantis In The Beginning . . . Indo-European Language • 1) The Start of the Indo-European Language – 6000 BC, Indo-European language started in a cold, northern climate of the forests north of the Black Sea (in what is now Ukraine) during the Neolithic period. • 2) The Spread of Indo-European Language – By 3500 BC, these IE speakers began to travel. – We get the start of many of the world’s languages – These people spread: • • • • West to Europe (German, English, French) South to the Mediterranean (Italian, Spanish, Greek) North to Scandinavia (Polish, Russian) East to India and Iran (Iranian, Hindi) The Spread of Indo-European Languages A look at the spread and dominance of the Indo-European Languages The Great Language Tree IndoEuropean Germanic Italic Slavonic Celtic Ancient Greek Indo-Iranian English, German, Dutch, Swedish Italian, Spanish, French Russian, Polish, Czech Scottish, Welch, Irish Modern Greek Hindi, Bengali American! Kentucky-ian, New Jersey-ian The First English (kind of) • 3) The Celtics • A. The first of these groups to go to England were the Celts – Celtic initially developed in mainland to France • B. Only about a dozen words are still in use – Geographical terms for UK – Avon and Thames • C. After a few early invasions, the Celts pushed West – They formed the languages of Welsh, Ireland, Scotland The Italians (thank God!!!) • 4) The Invading Romans • A. The Romans invaded UK and the Celts • B. Roman invasion in Britain left only 5 words. – -chester in Manchester and the –caster in Lancaster (means camps) – Interestingly, the Romans gave birth to a whole new group of Romantic languages in Europe (Italian, Spanish, French, Portuguese, etc.). • C. The Romans soon left (why stay in England when you have Italy!) – Stayed for 367 years • D. The Real Shocker: – Everywhere the Roman Empire went, they left the “Latin” language • • • • Left Latin in France and it became Latin French (evolving into French) Left Latin in Italy and it became Latin Italian (evolving into Italian) Left Latin in Spain and it become Latin Spanish (evolving into Spanish) Left Latin in Portugal and it became Late Portuguese (evolving into Portuguese) The Invasion of England by the Germanic Tribes The Germans are Coming! • 5) The Anglos, Saxons, and Jutes • A. Around 450 AD, The Angles (gave us “A[E]nglish”), Saxons (dominant group), and the Jutes came from Holland, Germany, and Denmark. – They were unrefined and barbaric compared to the Celts • B. After years of being isolate, their 3 languages started to blend together and develop into a brand new language--Old English!! – It sounded much more like German than English • There are still places in Germany where people speak a version of Anglo and Saxon that sound very much like Old English. The Germans are Coming! • C. What is left from old Anglo/Saxon (Old English) : – Most of Anglo/Saxon died out • Today, only about 1% of the words in the Oxford English Dictionary are A/S (old English) – Yet, those surviving words are the most fundamental • Man, wife, child, brother, sister, live, fight, love, drink, sleep, eat, house, through, look, walk, shoot, ground, meat, today, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, to, for, but, and, at, in, on. • Four of the tribe’s gods: Tue, Wardon, Thor, Frick – Saturday, Sunday, and Monday come from the planets – In fact, everyone of the 100 most common words spoken today are Anglo/Saxon – Of the next 100 words, 83 are of A/S origins The Christians • 6) The Christians with their Latin • A. In 597 AD, Christianity brought its huge Latin vocabulary to England (thanks to Augustine). – We get Angel, disciple, litany, martyr, mass, relic, shrift, shrine, alter, psalm, etc. • B. We also get . . . our dominant religion – Remember, the A/S were pagans (Tue, Wardon, Thor, Frick) – Thus, America was founded as a Christian State, not a pagan one Here Comes Trouble, again! • 7) Vikings (750-1050 AD) • A. The Vikings invaded the Northern part of England – Spoke old Norse • B. The Vikings were very aggressive – They killed the Anglos, Saxons, Christian monks, land owners, etc. • C. English almost died out without a trace – Then, in 878 AD, in an 11th hour victory, Alfred the Great won many decisive battles • Dane Treaty was signed—English got the South, the Danes got the North – Without this victory, we may be speaking Viking! • D. To this day, the treaty line divides Northern and Southern English Dialects – To hear Northern-English speakers, one can hear Viking terms and accents. – In fact, Northern England is filled with over 1,400 town names that are Viking • E. Over 1500 Viking words still survive: • Anger, bag, bait, birth, club, die, dirt, egg, husband, knife, law, skate, skill, skin, sky, they, their, ugly, want, weak, window They gave us more than just French Fries • 8) The French Normans • A. The Famous 1066 invasion of William the Conqueror – The “Norman French” came to England and kicked butt • B. They Became the New Elite Leaders of England – For 300 years, England did not have a King who spoke English (until 1399) • They took all the seats of power (church, government, law) – The common English continued to speak their A/S German (AKA, Old English) • C. Their addition to English: – The French speaking Normans gave English 10,000 words (3/4 of which are still in use) – Just about all our words related to government (except King and Queen), the law, the arts, medicine, high fashion, and the military are French • Bacon, beef, butcher, button, court, crime, curfew, defeat, eagle, fashion, felony, fraud, gallon, grammar, injury, joy, judge, jury, justice, lever, liberty, marriage, noun, nurse, parliament, pork, prison, question, rape, river, salary, shop, spy, squirrel, syllable, tax, virgin • D. The Blending of the Two Worlds (and languages) – Slowly, Norman French began a break with Parisian French – Many felt no alliance with “real” French anymore and began to embrace English (as a new language and a culture) • Lots of intermarriages between the Normans and the English – This blending is the start of Middle English Some Other Influences that Changed English (and you) Other Worldly Contributions to English • Shakespeare – Used 34,000 words—8% were never used before • Average educated 16,000 / King James Bible 8,000 – Coined 2,000 words: barefaced, critical, leapfrog, monumental, castigate, majestic, obscene, frugal, radiance, dwindle, countless, submerged, excellent, fretful, gust, hint, hurry, lonely, summit, pendant, obscene, and some 1, 685 others – Coined many Phrases: One fell swoop, In my minds eye, To be in a pickle, Vanish into thin air, Budge an inch, Play fast and loose, Flesh and Blood, To be or not to be, Foul play, Cruel to be kind • No single person has ever done more for any language Other Worldly Contributions to English • Algonquin • Arabic • Caribou, Massachusetts, Missouri, moccasins, Oregon, pecan, raccoon, tomahawk, Wisconsin, Wyoming • Albatross, alcohol, algebra, almanac, assassin, average, caramel, coffee, cork, cotton, garbage, giraffe, jar, magazine, mattress, mirror, monkey, safari, sheriff, soda, sofa, syrup, tariff, zenith, zero • Iroquois • Kentucky, Ohio, Canada Other Worldly Contributions to English • Dutch • Parisian French • Bluff, boom, booze, boss, brandy, Brooklyn, bully, caboose, coleslaw, cookie, deck, decoy, dock, dot, drill, drug, grab, Harlem, hustle, jeer, landscape, lottery, pickle, plug, plump, poll, Poppycock, quack, Santa Claus, cab, stove, tub, waffle, wagon, yacht, Yankee • A la cart, ballet, biscuit, cache, camouflage, crayon, dentist, espionage, laissez faire, lieutenant, maroon, mayonnaise, nasal, parachute, picnic, pioneer, renaissance, rendezvous, restaurant, sabotage, soup, souvenir, sport, tampon, tangerine, traffic, umpire, unique Other Worldly Contributions to English • Modern German • Spanish • Blitz, brake, clock, clown, dollar, hamburger, heroin, kindergarten, lager, luck, muffin, nickel, noodle, pretzel, quartz, rocket, vitamin, waltz • Argentina, bonanza, canyon, Colorado, embargo, Florida, guitar, lunch, patio, ranch, rodeo, stampede, tornado, tuna, vanilla • Sanskrit • Brilliant, candy, hemp, nirvana, opal, orange, pepper, sugar, swastika, yoga Other Worldly Contributions to English • Italian • Kongo (West Africa) • A cappella, alarm, America, bank, bankrupt, bravo, broccoli, buffoon, canon, cartoon, casino, desk, ditto, escort, ghetto, graffiti, macaroni, Mafia, manager, opera, pasta, piano, pizza, risk, semolina, solo, soprano, studio, spaghetti, umbrella, violin, volcano • Bongo, boogie, chimpanzee, funky, gorilla, mojo, zebra, zombie • Portuguese • Bossa Nova, breeze, caste, cobra, Creole, embarrass, fetish, flamingo, massage Other Worldly Contributions to English • Hebrew • Provençal (S. France) • Amen, cider, cinnamon, elephant, gopher, hallelujah, Israel, Jew, jockey, jug, messiah, Nimrod, rabbi, Sabbath, sapphire, Satan, sodomy • Ballad, boutique, cabin, cavalier, cocoon, crusade, fig, Harlequin, limousine, lingo, mascot, nutmeg, perfume, pilgrim, salad, sonnet Other Worldly Contributions to English (the 2 biggies) • Latin • Greek • Agitator, album, animal, • Academy, acrobat, alphabet, August, autumn, calendar, aristocrat, athlete, barbarian, circus, data, doctor, December, bishop, buffalo, cathedral, catholic, educator, February, France, cemetery, chorus, Christ, Germany, Greece, inch, joke, democracy, dinosaur, diploma, July, June, Jupiter, liberator, drama, economy, genesis, London, March, Mars, May, gymnasium, helicopter, history, Mercury, mile, November, horizon, idea, mathematics, October, parent, pastor, method, museum, mystery, ocean, picture, penis, refrigerate, Olympic, panic, prophet, psalm, religion, republic, satellite, psycho-, pyramid, rhythm, September, Spain, stadium, symphony, tele-, theater, theatre, study, stupid, suburb, table, theory tavern, vagina – Many of these also appear in the Romance Languages Other Worldly Contributions to English • • • • • • • • • • • • Afrikaans: Slim Avestan (extinct from Iran): Magic and Paradise Bilti (Pakistan): Polo Benton (West France): Billiards Carib (Caribbean): Barbecue Czech: Robot Flemish (North Belgium): Gas Hindi: Shampoo Latvian: Sleazy Maya: Cigar Nahuatl (Mexico): Chocolate & Tomato Tongan (South Pacific): Taboo Some Closing thoughts on English up to 1500 • 1) English is a mongrel language made up of a little of everything from everywhere • 2) English is a NEW language. – Not until 1600s do we get a language that we could recognize today • 3) The English Vocabulary Huge (or big, large, ample, great, prodigious, immense, elephantine, elephantine, towering, gargantuan, gigantic, massive, monolithic, voluminous, tremendous, Herculean) – That is in larger part due to all the invasions & borrowing – We have a synonyms for everything • • • • Russian Vocabulary: 150,000 words French Vocabulary: 180,000 words Chinese Vocabulary: 221,000 words (2nd largest) English Vocabulary: Over 600,000 words (1st, by a mile) – Although the average 8th grader only uses 890 words a day Now. . . To America!!!