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Antiquated English

 
 
Setanta
 
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Reply Wed 13 Nov, 2002 07:25 am
Actually, Walter, although the spelling is a little off, it is Frisian--as it was spoken by Saxons in England 1500 years ago . . . it's been better than 30 years since i read that, so i admit to not having accurately quoted it, but the saying was prosaic in early Saxon England. The Frisians had the carrying trade in the North Sea in the days before Hansa, and their dialect was a lingua france for that region . . .
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Setanta
 
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Reply Wed 13 Nov, 2002 07:27 am
The point of that quotation, in the context in which i first heard it, was that although our language is heavily freighted with Latin (mostly through French), French and Greek (again, mostly through French), our quotidian speech is still mostly Anglo-Saxon, and the syntax comes from Frisian. So, at any event, i was taught in the late 1960's.
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Walter Hinteler
 
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Reply Wed 13 Nov, 2002 07:46 am
Around 450 A.D. Angles, Saxons, Jutes and a Frisian fraction crossed the North Sea and established the Anglo-Saxon empire (currently known as England).
The Frisians colonized the county of Kent in southeast England.

They all spoke mutually intelligible languages, similar to modern Frisian--the language of northeastern region of the Netherlands--that is called Old English.

As far as I know (and I just happen to know very little about it, read something, when doing a work about the Bayeux tapestry), the majority of words in modern English come from foreign, not Old English roots. (Including some Celtic and Viking/Norsk vocabulary.)

I'm really not sure, if the Frisians had a different syntax to the other Germanic languages.
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Setanta
 
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Reply Wed 13 Nov, 2002 07:53 am
Yes, Walter, but the point is not the origin of the majority of the english vocabulary, but of the majority of the vocabulary we use in every day life. "Bread, butter and green cheese . . ." is still what you would buy at the grocery store, not panem, nor buerre. The point my instructor was making was that the majority of words we speak in english each day derive from anglo-saxon, jutish or frisian. This includes many of the nouns, all of the prepositions, pronouns and conjunctions. When we discuss philosophy, science, music, art--"academic" subjects, our speech becomes "french," or "latin," or "greek"--when we talk about the weather, go to the store, chat on ordinary matters, we fall back on anglo-saxon. In fact, the english of today is the direct descendant of that spoken in East Anglia in the 14th century, thanks to Chaucer and Wycliffe. I wish i knew where to find what i was trying to quote there, but, sadly, as i said, it was something i took down in notes in a class in 1968. Nevertheless, the modern english-speaker relies very heavily on anglo-saxon, jutish and frisian to get through her or his day.
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Walter Hinteler
 
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Reply Wed 13 Nov, 2002 07:59 am
Okay, I obviously missed that point.
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Aa
 
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Reply Wed 13 Nov, 2002 09:48 am
This Website about Kimswerd, Friesland, has a rather gory reference to the "butter, bread, and green cheese" saying.

http://www.villagesoftradition.nl/en/kimswerd_fr.html
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ul
 
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Reply Wed 13 Nov, 2002 10:35 am
In our English classes, years back, we learned that the English vernacular changed because of the Norman Invaders (Battle of Hastings 1066). The Norman aristocracy took over. The consequence was that farmers, servants were the local people, speaking their language, the "lords" using French, bringing new words and changing words.
So you have cattle, cow..., and beef ( from French boeuf).
The animal on one side and what you serve on the other side.
Also the language of the "learned" people was the language of the lords.
My memory might be wrong, but I thought that it was interesting to see the social impact in a language. That's the reason I remember.
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Nov, 2002 11:35 am
Well, one result of the 1066 invasion was to place all four Old English dialects (West Saxon, Kentish, Mercian and Northhumbrian) more or less on a level.

"Another outcome of the Norman Conquest was to change the writing of English from the clear and easily readable insular handof Irish origin to the delicate Carolingian script then in use on the Continent. With the change in appearance came a change in spelling. [... ]
[...]
For the first century after the Conquest, most loanwords came from Normandy and Picardy, but with the extension south to the Pyrenees of the Angevin empire of Henry II (reigned 1154-89), other dialects, especially Central French, or Francien, contributed to the speech of the aristocracy. As a result, Modern English acquired the forms canal, catch, leal, real, reward, wage, warden, and warrant from Norman French side by side with the corresponding forms channel, chase, loyal, royal, regard, gage, guardian, and guarantee, from Francien. King John lost Normandy in 1204. With the increasing power of the Capetian kings of Paris, Francien gradually predominated. Meanwhile, Latin stood intact as the language of learning. For three centuries, therefore, the literature of England was trilingual. Ancrene Riwle, for instance, a guide or rule (riwle) of rare quality for recluses or anchorites (ancren), was disseminated in all three languages." (from Encoclopædia Britannica ©2003)


Why couldn't I use 'Britannica' at my exams? :wink:
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Nov, 2002 04:54 pm
How did they copywrite that next year, already ?
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Thu 14 Nov, 2002 01:49 am
It's the 2003 issue - actually the copyright should read © 1985 - 2003 (or similar).
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ehBeth
 
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Reply Thu 14 Nov, 2002 05:50 am
Best tea I ever had was in Ost-Friesland. The language, as spoken there 30 years ago, was very different from anything else I heard while travelling in Germany. I wonder how close it was/is to the language as spoken 900 years earlier.
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Walter Hinteler
 
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Reply Thu 14 Nov, 2002 10:39 am
ehBeth

Today's frisan is different to the old language, since it develloped like other languages.

Here is a nice poem in the old language:
http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Atrium/6641/fresena.htm

The most astonishing language in (German) Frisia, however, is the existence of 'Saterlandish':

Frisian (Friesisch):

West Frisian (Westfriesisch):
The largest area is occupied today by West Frisian, and above all west of Groningen, including the islands of Schiermonnikoog and Terschelling. This region is bounded by North Lower Saxon and by the Zuidersee.

City Frisian (Stadtfriesisch):
Since the 16th century, a mixed dialect of Frisian and Dutch has been spoken in spots in the Dutch regions. This is the so-called "City Frisian", e.g., in Leeuwarden, the central point of the Dutch province of Friesland, in Dokkum, Franeker, Harlingen, and Staveren.

East Frisian (Ostfriesisch):
It is spoken between the Lauwersee and the mouth of the Weser, but especially on the island of Wangeroog.

Saterlandish (Saterländisch):
Only Saterlandish, with its parishes of Ramsloh, Stücklingen, and Scharrel in the high moors of the interior of northern Lower Saxony betwen the lower Weser and Ems in the vicinity of Friesoythe, has been able to maintain its identity in the midst of Middle Low German.

North Frisian (Nordfriesisch):
North Frisian is spoken on the Hallig islands and the neighboring strip of mainland on the western coast of southern Jutland and Schleswig, with elements of Danish and Low German mixed in.

Helgoland Frisian (Helgoländer Friesisch):
Quite different from the other Frisian dialects is the one spoken on the island of Helgoland.



East Frisian tea: you are sooooo right!
http://www.botschaft-ostfriesland.de/english/kultur/tee.html

(You can get an idea of that lovely country by looking at the different pages.)
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Merry Andrew
 
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Reply Thu 14 Nov, 2002 01:35 pm
WAlter, that is fascinating! That is soooo close to Old English I can read and understand most of it. It's a dialect very similar to the one Beowulf is written in. Thank you for that link.
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Thu 14 Nov, 2002 01:42 pm
Well, Andrew, actually Beowulf is (was) the last piece of litterature written in THE Old English, which was spoken similar by some Germanic "tribes".
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Merry Andrew
 
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Reply Thu 14 Nov, 2002 01:42 pm
I was also looking at the vocabulary section. Fascinating how many words not only survived, in transformed form, into later English but goit carried over into Gaelic. Thus 'ac' (also) became 'eke' in Chaucer's day and 'ain' (own or only) is still used in Scots Gaelic in that sense of one's own. "Twar his ain fault." Great site!
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Thu 14 Nov, 2002 01:43 pm
And it's NOT a dialect, but A language!
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ailsagirl
 
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Reply Tue 30 Mar, 2004 11:07 pm
How many words?
I quote these words from Bill Bryson's book The Mother Tongue.

Quote:
It is often said that what most immediately sets English apart from other languages is the richness of its vocabulary. Webster's Third New International Dictionary lists 450,000 words, and the revised OED has 615,000, but that is only part of the total. Technical and scientific terms would add millions more. Altogether, about 200,000 English words are in common use, more than in German (184,000) and far more than in French (a mere 100,000).


Ailsa
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Vivien
 
  1  
Reply Wed 31 Mar, 2004 02:48 am
thanks for that link - I've subscribed, the origin of words is fascinating and the links between languages

a word i came across in a Dorothy Dunnet novel (set in the time when Mary Queen of Scots and Elizabeth 1 were children) uses the phrase ' a wheel o' skelly eyed Scots'

I found an old dictionary that confirmed what I thought, it meant cross-eyed - an old friend's maiden name was Skelly and the family had a hereditary problem with a cast in their eyes (surgically corrected nowadays) - she was fascinated to know the origin of her name and how far back the problem must go.
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