Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Speak To Me

Nothing like going abroad to make you think about languages. And nothing like going to Holland to think about the English language.

Dutch is apparently halfway between English and German. Simple example ... "straat" is halfway between "street" and "strasse". You can read the signs above the shops (well I can tell what Wijn means anyway, lots of others).

So where did the English language come from?

French, Spanish and Italian are all obviously derived from Latin. Yet not all the same ... but when you get used to how they differ you can predict to some extent what the word will be ... verb conjugations and constructions etc. (I used to know all this stuff, not now.)

We assume this was because the Romans conquered all these places ... but the Romans conquered England. The pre-existing language was not English, but Welsh (Cornish, Celtic?). English, from the Angles, came afterwards surely? How did it supplant the Romano-British language? Why was it different from Dutch/German (Flemish)?

Expert on the history of language, someone?