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Gainsbarre

Could I have some more salt on my English?

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During the Elizabethan period, there wasn't an awful lot of respect for the English language. French and Latin were the preferred choices of artists, poets, academics and clergy; they were the high-brow languages. English at that time had a limited vocabulary.

But towards the end of the 16th Century, with the flourishing of Elizabethan Theatre, Shakespeare and his contemporaries worked solidly in English, expanding the language's artistry, respectability and vocabulary, and after that point, English greatly expanded. Shakespeare himself was credited with inventing 600 new English words.

So English kept growing...

So why do I crap on about this?

Well once upon a time, maybe 150 years ago, English had a plethora of words, a great vocabulary with which to express a myriad of meanings, emotions, nuances, subtle descriptions... The grammatical structure of the language was flexible enough to lend itself to highly stylised poetry. We had a language one could work with.

Nowdays, however, English is lazy. 'Big words' have become 'boring words' as everybody now seems to express themselves in written English using the least number of words and letters as possible.

Our written vocabulary is shrinking too, as journalists and writers perfer to use more common, easily-understood language for fear of writing something the masses won't understand, and, even worse, be put off from buying...

And this is what I just don't understand...

Never before have we lived in a time when everybody is told just how important education is. Nearly everybody these days finishes school at Grade 12 (I don't know what Americans call it, Senior year?) and most people go on to University. Even 40 years ago most people only did 10 years of schooling and no University.

However they did an experiment last year where they demonstrated that the majority of school students in 2007 could not pass the High School Certificate Exams for Grade 10 students in 1957...

So if more people are going to school/University for longer, why does everything seem to be getting dumber?

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Yeah, I totally understand what you mean. I think we've got the same problem in Germany too. The only way to save all the old wonderful words is keep on reading the classical books (they're not called "classical" for nothing).

I won't be the one who lets a language die!

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During the Elizabethan period, there wasn't an awful lot of respect for the English language. French and Latin were the preferred choices of artists, poets, academics and clergy; they were the high-brow languages. English at that time had a limited vocabulary.

But towards the end of the 16th Century, with the flourishing of Elizabethan Theatre, Shakespeare and his contemporaries worked solidly in English, expanding the language's artistry, respectability and vocabulary, and after that point, English greatly expanded. Shakespeare himself was credited with inventing 600 new English words.

So English kept growing...

So why do I crap on about this?

Well once upon a time, maybe 150 years ago, English had a plethora of words, a great vocabulary with which to express a myriad of meanings, emotions, nuances, subtle descriptions... The grammatical structure of the language was flexible enough to lend itself to highly stylised poetry. We had a language one could work with.

Nowdays, however, English is lazy. 'Big words' have become 'boring words' as everybody now seems to express themselves in written English using the least number of words and letters as possible.

Our written vocabulary is shrinking too, as journalists and writers perfer to use more common, easily-understood language for fear of writing something the masses won't understand, and, even worse, be put off from buying...

And this is what I just don't understand...

Never before have we lived in a time when everybody is told just how important education is. Nearly everybody these days finishes school at Grade 12 (I don't know what Americans call it, Senior year?) and most people go on to University. Even 40 years ago most people only did 10 years of schooling and no University.

However they did an experiment last year where they demonstrated that the majority of school students in 2007 could not pass the High School Certificate Exams for Grade 10 students in 1957...

So if more people are going to school/University for longer, why does everything seem to be getting dumber?

I think you mean "American English" not the "True English", as spoken by the "True English" like me. Well I say "True English", I mean the "Half Irish-Half Cockney-True English" if you know what I mean, cock. LOL

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I'd like to know the answer to that, too.

But, if you notice, we have many, many words that are borrowed from other languages.

Just try to find words in the dictionary that have Germanic roots anymore.

English was originally a Germanic language. Most first language German speakers can read Old English better than a first language English speaker because it was still so close to German that it was easier to read.

Part of the reason that our Germanic roots are so hard to find is because of borrowing. There are MANY more reasons that could be talked about, but it's not what I want to get into.

Most people who write anything in English for the masses to read write in a lower register, or in simpler language. They do this so the articles and books are accessible to many others around.

While we don't have much high-register writing produced that I know of right now,there is still hard-to-read academic work around. Take for example, a dissertation or a thesis written about anything. I read some academic journals meant for English teachers and the study of literature and grammar, writing,etc. Those aren't easy to read.

As for the days of writing that resembles Emerson or Thoreau's high register, I have really only seen it in poetry.

Not that this answers your questions, Gaines... LOL

I guess I just saw an opportunity to spout off about something I love. :D

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BTW--the dialects of English that are mentioned by BIG DAN are called "British Standard English," "American Standard English." (I think) I know that ours is "American Standard English." I don't know what the Aussies call their dialect--and there are definitely subsets of dialects within each standard dialect.

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BTW--the dialects of English that are mentioned by BIG DAN are called "British Standard English," "American Standard English." (I think) I know that ours is "American Standard English." I don't know what the Aussies call their dialect--and there are definitely subsets of dialects within each standard dialect.

Hi Madders,

The truth is this, if you want to keep your language static then you have to stop immigration. Because it is the immigrant that will change the way you read and write.

Just look at England, we at first spoke Celtic, probably Welsh, then we add a bit of Roman,

then Anglo-Saxon,

then Norman-French,

then Scotts-Irish,

then Chinese,

then Italian and German,

then West Indian,

then Indo-Pakistani,

then Greek and Turkish,

then Kosovan,

then Polish,

I was a Parent Governor at my kids school for over five years and we ended up with 28 different languages where English was not their first language, how can you teach "English" when over half of the kids don't talk it at home?

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My husband and I lived in southern Africa and have returned for extended stays. The English spoken there (by the descendants of the English who settled there) is very unique. The accent has been influenced by Afrikaans and their vocabulary includes both Afrikaans and, depending upon the country, words from the indigenous languages. I quickly pick up regional accents so I found myself pronouncing certain words in that same manner. When I play back old vids of our children who attended the "English" schools there, they didn't sound "American". Of course, once we left, they quickly lost those accents. I'm back here in the U.S. now and I can tell by their accents immediately if a person grew up in southern Africa: they're always surprised when I ask, "Did you grow up in Zimbabwe?"

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Actually, BIGDAN, the truth is that ALL languages constantly evolve.

We can't really stop the evolution of the languages--they progress through time: through generations even if there were no immigration.

Human beings simply need to exercise their creativity.

(this little statement is repeated ALL OF THE TIME by my linguistics professor at school)

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And MSG: I love South African accents. They're so unique!

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Actually, BIGDAN, the truth is that ALL languages constantly evolve.

We can't really stop the evolution of the languages--they progress through time: through generations even if there were no immigration.

Human beings simply need to exercise their creativity.

(this little statement is repeated ALL OF THE TIME by my linguistics professor at school)

Hi Madders,

The truth (Troot, in West-Indian. LOL) is both, Immigration just makes it so much quicker. I think I read that language changes about 10% per every hundred years, so Pre-Norman English would have no meaning to us now and would sound like a foreign language to us.

Regards, Danny

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And MSG: I love South African accents. They're so unique!

I went to college with someone from Johannesburg and his accent was delicious. We'd study together whether I needed to study or not just because I loved the sound of his voice.

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reminds me of a family gathering i attended at some danish friends house and all of her relatives were in a heated debate about the proper word for "the sound water makes slapping against a rock" evidently they had seven different words they were arguing about...

...i couldnt stop laughing when they told me what all the yelling was about

i also had trouble coming up with one in english... :huh:

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And MSG: I love South African accents. They're so unique!

I love them too, Manderly. We worked with an English guy who grew up there who not only spoke English with that great southern Africa English accent, he would also speak, Shona, one of the indigenous languages with that same accent. :D

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Wonderful thread.

Try writing something slightly complex in structure, then run it by the grammar checker in Word. And poetry? Fahgeddaboutit. Everything has become alarmingly dumbed down; it's a race to the bottom.

And yes, sadly a lot of it is done to sell to the lowest common denomination.

Glad to see such a diverse group of English lovers carrying the torch here, though!

Speaking of immigrants and their effect on language, my parents came to the US from Holland. There were certain Dutch words I learned I thought were English until I got to grade school and teachers were like, "what did you just say?" In daily speech, my parents would substitute the Dutch word when they didn't know the English one. Or they'd just get the English word wrong.

To this day when I eat clam chowder, I hear my mother saying "would you like some clam shoulders?" :D

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Do you speak Dutch, Sunchild? I ask because I learned Afrikaans (I know, the language of the oppressors but it was the only common language in multilingual schools where staff and students were still learning English) when we were living in southern Africa and, for me, it was one of the easiest languages to learn. It is based on the Dutch language but it is much simpler and combines (what for me) were easily recognizable words from English (the words derived form German). After struggling through French, English, and Spanish grammar, the Afrikaans grammar was very easy too. Verbs are not conjugated differently for different subjects and there are no irregular verbs. In order to ask the question, "how do you say (insert word) in Afrikaans, you ask "Hoe sê u (insert word) in Afrikaans?" - which sounds like "How say you?" The word for dish, for example, sounds like how we would pronounce "board".

Edited by MadScreamingGallery

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reminds me of a family gathering i attended at some danish friends house and all of her relatives were in a heated debate about the proper word for "the sound water makes slapping against a rock" evidently they had seven different words they were arguing about...

...i couldnt stop laughing when they told me what all the yelling was about

i also had trouble coming up with one in english... :huh:

Whats wrong with "splat"?

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Do you speak Dutch, Sunchild? I ask because I learned Afrikaans (I know, the language of the oppressors

The oppressors..........hmmmmm. Do you know what goes on there today? The rape and murder of good white south africans.

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So if more people are going to school/University for longer, why does everything seem to be getting dumber?

Not everything seems to be getting dumber. Once in a while you may notice students having an unusually intelligent and casual conversation. There are usually some gifted people floating around who can surprise you if you happen to cross their paths.

It was after 1066 that the English language experienced a profound change.

One of the most obvious changes was the introduction of Anglo-Norman, a northern dialect of Old French, as the language of the ruling classes in England, displacing Old English. Even after the decline of Norman, French retained the status of a prestige language for nearly 300 years and has had (with Norman) a significant influence on the language, which is easily visible in Modern English.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norman_conquest_of_England

Anyway, the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) word of the day is

voluptuous, a.

1. Of or pertaining to, derived from, resting in, characterized by, gratification of the senses, esp. in a refined or luxurious manner; marked by indulgence in sensual pleasures; luxuriously sensuous: a. Of desires or appetites.

c1374 CHAUCER Troylus IV. 1573 Love ne drof yow nought to don this dede, But lust voluptuous, and cowarde drede. c1407 LYDG. Reson & Sens. 4714 To soiourne in the Erbere..Oonly ordeyned for delyte And voluptuouse appetyte. 1491 CAXTON Vitas Patr. (W. de W. 1495) I. i. 5/1 This techith us our sauyour for to kepe us from voluptuous desyres. 1526 Pilgr. Perf. (W. de W. 1531) 82b, Abstynence from the carnall voluptuous appetyte of the flesshe. c1540 in Prance Addit. Narr. Pop. Plot (1679) 36 The supporters of our voluptuose and Carnal Appetite. 1697 SOUTH Serm. I. 32 God..has corrected the Boundlessness of his Voluptuous desires, by stinting his strengths, and contracting his Capacities. 1796 MORSE Amer. Geog. II. 546 [Dancing girls, who] communicate, by a natural contagion, the most voluptuous desires to the beholders.

b. Of pleasure or pleasurable sensations.

c1407 LYDG. Reson & Sens. 2022 Venus..goddesse is of al plesaunce, Of lust, and fleshly appetyte, And of voluptuous delyte. 1603 KNOLLES Hist. Turks (1638) 242 Solyman..lay in great securitie,..passing his time in all voluptuous pleasure. 1663 S. PATRICK Parab. Pilgr. xiv, Because I believe you are desirous to know, how they receive and take in those voluptuous enjoyments. 1756 BURKE Subl. & B. I. v, That smooth and voluptuous satisfaction which the assured prospect of pleasure bestows. 1820 SHELLEY Prometh. Unb. I. 426 If thou might'st dwell among the Gods the while Lapped in voluptuous joy? 1869 J. PHILLIPS Vesuv. i. 10 The long voluptuous dream came to a startling end. 1888 Buck's Handbk. Med. Sci. VI. 397/2 Excessive voluptuous sensations may be the result of peripheral or central causes.

transf. 1614 DONNE Lett. (1651) 173 Out of a voluptuous loathnesse to let that taste go out of my mouth. 1815 SHELLEY Alastor 11 Spring's voluptuous pantings when she breathes Her first sweet kisses, have been dear to me.

c. Of modes of life or conduct.

1432-50 tr. Higden (Rolls) VI. 79 The luffe of the cuntre and elegancy voluptuous deceyvide his grevous labors. 1553 BRENDE Q. Curtius x. 209 Hauing in these and suche other like voluptuous vanities consumed a great part of the treasure. a1578 LINDESAY (Pitscottie) Chron. Scot. (S.T.S.) I. 82 They subornit him quyitlie to dissobedience,..for by it they thocht they had ane woluptous lyfe. 1582 BIBLE (Genev.) 2nd Alph. Direct., Voluptuous liuing, one of the thornes that choke the worde. 1600 HOLLAND Livy XXXVI. ii. 925 The very souldiours were let loose and given over to take voluptuous waies. 1634 W. TIRWHYT tr. Balzac's Lett. 211 He as easily surmounteth all his voluptuous irregularities, as he doth his most violent revels. 1685 OTWAY Windsor Castle 124 The Priests who humble Temp'rance should profess, Sought silken Robes and fat voluptuous Ease. a1734 NORTH Lives (1826) II. 95 By his voluptuous unthinking course of life he ran in debt. 1809 W. IRVING Knickerb. (1861) 75 The gallant warrior starts from soft repose, from golden visions, and voluptuous ease. 1817 SHELLEY Constantia iv, The breath of summer night, Which..suspends my soul in its voluptuous flight. 1838 THIRLWALL Greece xxxviii. V. 29 A man of voluptuous habits, who desired power as an instrument of sensual indulgence.

d. Of fare or feasting.

1544 Exhort. in Priv. Prayers (1851) 569 Wholesome abstinence..from all delicious living in voluptuous fare. 1585 LUPTON Thous. Notable Th. (1675) 77 Cleopatra, the last Queen of Egypt,..did drink one so voluptuous a draught as never any did before. 1638 PENKETHMAN Artach. K3 Excessive consumption and abuse of Wheat and other Victuals in voluptuous Feasts. 1727 [DORRINGTON] Philip Quarll (1816) 14 These provisions being somewhat too voluptuous for an hermit. 1759 B. MARTIN Nat. Hist. I. 78 The most voluptuous Part of Cookery. 1796 MORSE Amer. Geog. II. 589 That dissolving jelly which is so voluptuous a rarity at European tables.

e. Of places.

1687 A. LOVELL tr. Thevenot's Trav. I. 39 They tell a thousand other Fopperies of this voluptuous Paradise. 1820 SHELLEY Prometh. Unb. I. 171 Foodless toads Within voluptuous chambers panting crawled. 1832 W. IRVING Alhambra I. 4 A soft southern region, decked out with all the luxuriant charms of voluptuous Italy. 1839 THIRLWALL Greece l. VI. 227 The army was permitted to revel for some time in the enjoyments which the most splendid and voluptuous of Eastern cities offered in profusion.

2. Addicted to sensual pleasure or the gratification of the senses; inclined to ease and luxury; fond of elegant or sumptuous living.

c1440 Gesta Rom. xviii. 333 (Add. MS.), The voluptuous flessh, that bereth the fire of glotonye and lechery. 1577 tr. Bullinger's Decades (1592) 20 Voluptuous and daintie louers of this world..doo without any fruite at al heare Gods worde. 1594 T. B. La Primaud. Fr. Acad. II. 121 Our Lord Iesus Christ himselfe, who was neither nice nor voluptuous. 1612 T. TAYLOR Comm. Titus ii. 12 The voluptuous person, is a louer of his pleasure more then of God. 1638 SIR T. HERBERT Trav. (ed. 2) 240 The poore are not so voluptuous: they content themselves with drie ryce, herbs, roots. 1670 CLARENDON Ess. Tracts (1727) 166 The lustful and voluptuous Person, who sacrifices the Strength and Vigour of his Body to the Rage and Temptation of his Blood. a1734 NORTH Lives (1826) II. 411 The bey was a merry fellow, and, like other voluptuous Turks, had his buffoons to divert him. 1783 JOHNSON Lett. (1788) II. 298 A friend of mine, who courted a lady of whom he did not know much, was advised to see her eat, and if she was voluptuous at table, to forsake her. 1838 THIRLWALL Greece II. 172 The voluptuous and unwarlike people were protected by impregnable walls. 1848 LYTTON Harold I. i, A large building that once had belonged to some voluptuous Roman.

absol. a1680 BUTLER Characters (1908) 266 The voluptuous is very hard to be pleas'd. 1682 BURNET Rights Princes v. 160 As if it had been the Rich and Voluptuous, and not the Poor and the Hungry. 1762 Charac. in Ann. Reg. 13 His high relish of social enjoyment soon brought him into request with the voluptuous of all ranks. 1802 Gentl. Mag. Jan. 3/1 To the..Spleneticthe Voluptuousthe Petulantand the Proud.

transf. a1822 SHELLEY Calderon III. 56 And, voluptuous Vine, O thou Who seekest most when least pursuing.

3. Imparting a sense of delicious pleasure; suggestive of sensuous pleasures, esp. of a refined or luxurious kind.

1816 BYRON Ch. Har. III. xxi, And when Music arose with its voluptuous swell, Soft eyes look'd love to eyes which spake again. 1820 HAZLITT Lect. Dram. Lit. 71 The poet succeeds less in the voluptuous and effeminate descriptions. 1844 LEVER T. Burke xli. 307 The seigneur..had..mixed in the voluptuous fascinations of the period. 1877 DOWDEN Shaks. Primer vi. 87 The voluptuous moonlit nights are only like a softer day.

b. Suggestive of sensuous pleasure by fulness and beauty of form.

1839 HALLAM Hist. Lit. (1847) II. 101 We recognise his spirit in the sylvan shades and voluptuous forms of Albano and Domenichino. 1841 MACAULAY Ess., Hastings (1851) 649 There appeared the voluptuous charms of her to whom the heir of the throne had in secret plighted his faith. 1875 JOWETT Plato (ed. 2) III. 144 The voluptuous image of a Corinthian courtezan. 1891 FARRAR Darkn. & Dawn xxvi, She was now twenty-six, but had lost none of her voluptuous loveliness.

transf. 1852 TENNYSON Ode Wellington 208 He shall find the stubborn thistle bursting Into glossy purples, which out~redden All voluptuous garden-roses.

http://www.oed.com/cgi/display/wotd

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While we don't have much high-register writing produced that I know of right now,there is still hard-to-read academic work around. Take for example, a dissertation or a thesis written about anything. I read some academic journals meant for English teachers and the study of literature and grammar, writing,etc. Those aren't easy to read.

As for the days of writing that resembles Emerson or Thoreau's high register, I have really only seen it in poetry.

Not that this answers your questions, Gaines... LOL

I guess I just saw an opportunity to spout off about something I love. :D

Please, by my guest :D

But you're right, there is still a certain type of language use in Academia, in fact I would go so far as to say that Academia is evolving into its own languages or dialects. You come across a language style or structure that you frankly don't see anywhere else.

I guess my problem is that it seems like English is contracting as people seem to want to communicate in increasingly basic ways.

Languages always change, and that's completely understandable, but what's it changing to? People are too lazy to learn the breadth of English vocabulary, no one's making or encouraging them to learn it, and they're too lazy to learn new words, and far too lazy to spell the words we already use, so for me it's shrinking.

Now if you're a writer or a poet, I don't know why the hell you'd want to work in English anymore, because English is becoming increasingly inflexible from a grammatical point of view, and if you choose to borrow from the great history of English vocabulary and language arts, people accuse or criticise you of being 'old fashioned' in your writing.

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Languages always change, and that's completely understandable, but what's it changing to? People are too lazy to learn the breadth of English vocabulary, no one's making or encouraging them to learn it, and they're too lazy to learn new words, and far too lazy to spell the words we already use, so for me it's shrinking.

The spelling of words in English has varied throughout the history of the language. Many of the words used in English today had a much different spelling years ago. Do you recognize the following words in Old English?

Fæder úre, ðú ðe eart on heofonum,

Sí ðín nama gehálgod.

Tó becume ðín rice.

Gewurde ðín willa

On eorþan swá swá on heofonum.

Urne dægwhamlícan hlaf syle ús tódæg.

And forgyf ús úre gyltas,

Swá swá wé forgyfaþ úrum gyltendum.

And ne gelæd ðu ús on costnunge,

Ac álýs ús of yfele. Sóþlice.

http://bitterscroll.podomatic.com/entry/20...T16_02_07-07_00

Edited by eternal light

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The spelling of words in English has varied throughout the history of the language. Many of the words used in English today had a much different spelling years ago. Do you recognize the following words in Old English?

Yeah I am aware that the spelling of English has changed over the years "Passetyme with gude companye"...

My point though is English is contracting...

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New words come into the language continually, meanings expand and spellings change. Carjacking is a new word to describe the hijacking of a car. Emoticon and smilie are new words. Delicious combines with a host of words to form new words like divalicious or sugarlicious. Postal and spam mean more than they once did. Probably is now sometimes shortened to prolly.

Edited by eternal light

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New words come into the language continually, meanings expand and spellings change. Carjacking is a new word to describe the hijacking of a car. Delicious combines with a host of words to form new words like divalicious or sugarlicious. Postal and spam mean more than they once did. Probably is now sometimes shortened to prolly.

There's only really increase in technology-related words and colloquialisms

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