English at heart

I consider myself fortunate – I speak and write in one of the world’s most popular languages. I rarely have to translate what I read about me or struggle to understand the meaning. I love my language and its versatility. I am English. My cultural identity is English (British, too, but that’s a different layer of nationality). This language may have travelled the world and become the native tongue of many countries, but it was forged here, in these isles.

English is the product of countless invasions. The original language of the British Isles is closer to the Celtic tongues of the Welsh and Scots (the Britons of the past), whereas the language I use is the result of the influence of many others – Latin from the Romans, Saxon from the Germanic invaders, Nordic from the Vikings and Danes, the Romantic flavour of French from the Normans and plus for good measure, the scholarly influence of the Greeks. From what I gather, the pervasiveness of Celtic words in English is very low, which is odd given their proximity and rather indicative of the oppression of these peoples until recent times.

For me then, English is more than a language, it represents my past and origins. As technology and other cultures make their alterations to the global language of English, I cling to the hope what I speak – the dialects and colloquial qualities of my mother tongue – remain steadfastly rooted here, in England. If English isn’t your first language or mother tongue, value your own, make it the source of ideas and thoughts. Yes, it can be translated, and many of my favourite authors write in languages foreign to me, but it is that diversity which brings out the best in the written and spoken word. Celebrate it!

Today’s book:

Bill Bryson’s  Mother Tongue: The Story of the English Language

 

Twitter hashtag is #AtoZChallenge and Twitter id is @AprilA2Z

Linky List  for finding other partipants in the challenge is here

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4 comments

  1. Love English too – so many synonyms because of all the influences, many more ways of saying things, I feel sorry for the French with so little to choose from, although their language is so romantic and beautiful! And the old Anglo-Saxon words have left us with the ‘pithy’ words, they were full of imagery and very onomatopoeic… this is a link (at the end) to a video we took of poet Gerard Benson (sadly dead now) declaiming a poem in Anglo-saxon, about blacksmiths. You can hear how the words paint a picture even if you don’t know what they mean. Liz http://www.lizbrownleepoet.com

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    1. My mum learnt to read Saxon when she studied English. I will enjoy watching this, once I’ve got a reliable internet connection, it’s not great where I’m visiting. thanks for the link.

      Like

  2. I too am proud of my mother tongue. And whilst it’s great that we have loaned to other countries around the world, and allowed them to mess around with it, it just doesn’t sound the same as it does here!

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    1. Sometimes I wish global English had a different name, like the common tongue, because my English is the language of my country and it’s not the same as American English. Living near Liverpool, the flavour of Scouse is what I commonly hear about me.

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