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    #11

    Re: Anglo-Saxon vs Latinate vocabulary

    How about Ulysses by James Joyce: Episode 14 - Oxen Of The Sun

    I was shown parts of this as separate texts at school and remember being very impressed when told they all came from the same chapter.

  1. Frank Antonson's Avatar
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    #12

    Re: Anglo-Saxon vs Latinate vocabulary

    Well, I am ready to put weeks into it.

    I early realized that I am VERY prejudiced about language. I have been known to say that if I could get into a time machine and travel to any when that I wanted, I would not hesitate for a moment and travel to 1066. I would tell Harold the Saxon to not look up (in order to avoid that arrow in the eye).

    German, I feel, is the very heart and soul of the English language. What the Normans brought in was, for the most part, just extra. Now, regarding science and law, I will admit that the Saxon speech may have been inadequate, but what does that matter when it comes to heart, soul, and poetry?

  2. konungursvia's Avatar
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    #13

    Re: Anglo-Saxon vs Latinate vocabulary

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Antonson View Post
    Well, I am ready to put weeks into it.

    I early realized that I am VERY prejudiced about language. I have been known to say that if I could get into a time machine and travel to any when that I wanted, I would not hesitate for a moment and travel to 1066. I would tell Harold the Saxon to not look up (in order to avoid that arrow in the eye).

    German, I feel, is the very heart and soul of the English language. What the Normans brought in was, for the most part, just extra. Now, regarding science and law, I will admit that the Saxon speech may have been inadequate, but what does that matter when it comes to heart, soul, and poetry?
    Wow, an interesting opinion, and one I will attempt to disagree with politely.

    German was not the language spoken in England before 1066, it was Old English, or more precisely Intermediate Saxon, a dialect with closer relations to Old Norse than German, which is so similar to Icelandic that Oxford and Cambridge English majors (used to?) have to study that language as part of their study of English. Here is a bit of Beowulf:

    Hwt! We Gardena in geardagum,
    eodcyninga, rym gefrunon,
    hu a elingas ellen fremedon.
    Oft Scyld Scefing sceaena reatum,
    5 monegum mgum, meodosetla ofteah,
    egsode eorlas. Syan rest wear
    feasceaft funden, he s frofre gebad,
    weox under wolcnum, weormyndum ah,
    ot him ghwylc ara ymbsittendra
    10 ofer hronrade hyran scolde,
    gomban gyldan. t ws god cyning!
    m eafera ws fter cenned,
    geong in geardum, one god sende
    folce to frofre; fyrenearfe ongeat
    15 e hie r drugon aldorlease
    lange hwile. Him s liffrea,
    wuldres wealdend, woroldare forgeaf;
    Beowulf ws breme (bld wide sprang),
    Scyldes eafera Scedelandum in.
    20 Swa sceal geong guma gode gewyrcean,
    fromum feohgiftum on fder bearme,
    t hine on ylde eft gewunigen
    wilgesias, onne wig cume,
    leode gelsten; lofddum sceal
    25 in mga gehwre man geeon.
    Him a Scyld gewat to gescphwile
    felahror feran on frean wre.
    Hi hyne a tbron to brimes faroe,
    swse gesias, swa he selfa bd,
    30 enden wordum weold wine Scyldinga;
    leof landfruma lange ahte.
    r t hye stod hringedstefna,
    isig ond utfus, elinges fr.
    Aledon a leofne eoden,
    35 beaga bryttan, on bearm scipes,
    mrne be mste. r ws madma fela
    of feorwegum, frtwa, gelded;
    ne hyrde ic cymlicor ceol gegyrwan
    hildewpnum ond heaowdum,
    40 billum ond byrnum; him on bearme lg
    madma mnigo, a him mid scoldon
    on flodes ht feor gewitan.
    Nals hi hine lssan lacum teodan,
    eodgestreonum, on a dydon
    45 e hine t frumsceafte for onsendon
    nne ofer ye umborwesende.
    a gyt hie him asetton segen geldenne
    heah ofer heafod, leton holm beran,
    geafon on garsecg; him ws geomor sefa,
    50 murnende mod. Men ne cunnon
    secgan to soe, selerdende,
    hle under heofenum, hwa m hlste onfeng.
    a ws on burgum Beowulf Scyldinga,
    leof leodcyning, longe rage
    55 folcum gefrge (fder ellor hwearf,
    aldor of earde), ot him eft onwoc
    heah Healfdene; heold enden lifde,
    gamol ond gureouw, glde Scyldingas.
    m feower bearn for gerimed
    60 in worold wocun, weoroda rswan,
    Heorogar ond Hrogar ond Halga til;
    hyrde ic t ws Onelan cwen,
    Heaoscilfingas healsgebedda.
    a ws Hrogare heresped gyfen,
    65 wiges weormynd, t him his winemagas
    georne hyrdon, o t seo geogo geweox,
    magodriht micel. Him on mod bearn
    t healreced hatan wolde,
    medorn micel, men gewyrcean
    70 onne yldo bearn fre gefrunon,
    ond r on innan eall gedlan
    geongum ond ealdum, swylc him god sealde,
    buton folcscare ond feorum gumena.
    a ic wide gefrgn weorc gebannan
    75 manigre mge geond isne middangeard,
    folcstede frtwan. Him on fyrste gelomp,
    dre mid yldum, t hit wear ealgearo,
    healrna mst; scop him Heort naman
    se e his wordes geweald wide hfde.
    80 He beot ne aleh, beagas dlde,
    sinc t symle. Sele hlifade,
    heah ond horngeap, heaowylma bad,
    laan liges; ne ws hit lenge a gen
    t se ecghete aumsweorum
    85 fter wlnie wcnan scolde.
    a se ellengst earfolice
    rage geolode, se e in ystrum bad,
    t he dogora gehwam dream gehyrde
    hludne in healle; r ws hearpan sweg,
    90 swutol sang scopes. Sgde se e cue
    frumsceaft fira feorran reccan,
    cw t se lmihtiga eoran worhte,
    wlitebeorhtne wang, swa wter bebuge,
    gesette sigehreig sunnan ond monan
    95 leoman to leohte landbuendum
    ond gefrtwade foldan sceatas
    leomum ond leafum, lif eac gesceop
    cynna gehwylcum ara e cwice hwyrfa.
    Swa a drihtguman dreamum lifdon
    100 eadiglice, ot an ongan
    fyrene fremman feond on helle.
    Ws se grimma gst Grendel haten,
    mre mearcstapa, se e moras heold,
    fen ond fsten; fifelcynnes eard.

    I'd be interested in hearing which characteristics of this language you find are the heart and soul of English. I myself love the bastard duality of our language (and as a Viking myself, I am predisposed to look favourably on its Nordic heritage). In my view, it is the very lack of purity which makes English so flexible and adaptable. There is nothing like the Acadmie franaise in the English-speaking world, nor could there ever be.

    That's why we are utterly shameless in innovating, and do it better than most other languages, who borrow our words at every generation (think of download, boot, etc.).

    Our language is so organic precisely because we have multiple forms of logic with which to manipulate it. We can be poetically rustic as in the quote above from the King James Bible, and yet we can fly as high into the clouds of abstraction as any Latin language.

    After the Invasion, the Normans quite simply brought modern civilisation to Britain, along with its legal, scientific and artistic vocabulary. While Beowulf spoke of blood, guts, love and fear, Middle English brought us a much higher degree of wit. You'll notice that already, in Chaucer, about half the words are Norman French, and are pronounced as such.

    Today I find that the writers with the greatest sensitivity to the nuances of English always betray a subtle and intimate knowledge of the French usages associated with our words. You can tell by context. But I think I'm getting too long for one page here.

    One more rib-poke for you, Harald the Saxon married a Viking princess and his descendants learnt Danish from her. So it was Vikings cot cour, and Vikings cot jardin, for England's throne.
    Last edited by konungursvia; 04-Apr-2011 at 03:30. Reason: formatting etc

  3. konungursvia's Avatar
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    #14

    Re: Anglo-Saxon vs Latinate vocabulary

    And here is a bit of Chaucer, my favourite English author:

    Whan that the Knyght had thus his tale ytoold,
    In al the route ne was ther yong ne oold
    That he ne seyde it was a noble storie,
    And worthy for to drawen to memorie;
    5 And namely the gentils everichon.
    Oure Hooste lough, and swoor, "So moot I gon,
    This gooth aright; unbokeled is the male,
    Lat se now who shal telle another tale,
    For trewely the game is wel bigonne.
    10 Now telleth on, sir Monk, if that ye konne
    Somwhat to quite with the Knyghtes tale."
    The Millere that for dronken was al pale,
    So that unnethe upon his hors he sat,
    He nolde avalen neither hood ne hat,
    15 Ne abyde no man for his curteisie,
    But in Pilates voys he gan to crie,
    And swoor, "By armes and by blood and bones,
    I kan a noble tale for the nones,
    With which I wol now quite the Knyghtes tale."
    20 Oure Hooste saugh that he was dronke of ale,
    And seyde, "Abyd, Robyn, my leeve brother,
    Som bettre man shal telle us first another,
    Abyd, and lat us werken thriftily."
    "By Goddes soule," quod he, "that wol nat I,
    25 For I wol speke, or elles go my wey."
    Oure Hoost answerde, "Tel on, a devel wey!
    Thou art a fool, thy wit is overcome!
    "Now herkneth," quod the Miller, "alle and some,
    But first I make a protestacioun
    30 That I am dronke, I knowe it by my soun;
    And therfore, if that I mysspeke or seye,
    Wyte it the ale of Southwerk I you preye.
    For I wol telle a legende and a lyf
    Bothe of a carpenter and of his wyf,
    35 How that a clerk hath set the wrightes cappe."
    The Reve answerde and seyde, "Stynt thy clappe,
    Lat be thy lewed dronken harlotrye,
    It is a synne and eek a greet folye
    To apeyren any man or hym defame,
    40 And eek to bryngen wyves in swich fame;
    Thou mayst ynogh of othere thynges seyn."
    This dronke Millere spak ful soone ageyn,
    And seyde, "Leve brother Osewold,
    Who hath no wyf, he is no cokewold.
    45 But I sey nat therfore that thou art oon,
    Ther been ful goode wyves many oon,
    And evere a thousand goode ayeyns oon badde;
    That knowestow wel thyself, but if thou madde.
    Why artow angry with my tale now?
    50 I have a wyf, pardee, as wel as thow,
    Yet nolde I for the oxen in my plogh
    Take upon me moore than ynogh,
    As demen of myself that I were oon;
    I wol bileve wel, that I am noon.
    55 An housbonde shal nat been inquisityf
    Of Goddes pryvetee, nor of his wyf.
    So he may fynde Goddes foysoun there,
    Of the remenant nedeth nat enquere."
    What sholde I moore seyn, but this Millere
    60 He nolde his wordes for no man forbere,
    But tolde his cherles tale in his manere;
    Me thynketh that I shal reherce it heere.
    And therfore every gentil wight I preye,
    For Goddes love, demeth nat that I seye
    65 Of yvel entente, but that I moot reherce
    Hir tales alle, be they bettre or werse,
    Or elles falsen som of my mateere.
    And therfore who-so list it nat yheere,
    Turne over the leef, and chese another tale;
    70 For he shal fynde ynowe, grete and smale,
    Of storial thyng that toucheth gentillesse,
    And eek moralitee, and hoolynesse.
    Blameth nat me if that ye chese amys;
    The Millere is a cherl, ye knowe wel this,
    75 So was the Reve, and othere manye mo,
    And harlotrie they tolden bothe two.
    Avyseth yow, and put me out of blame,
    And eek men shal nat maken ernest of game.

    You will notice that our language has maintained much of Chaucer's metric flexibilty. This is also why I love Byron, who seamlessly mixes the two oil-and-water heritages:

    His mother was a learned lady, famed
    For every branch of every science known
    In every Christian language ever named,
    With virtues equall'd by her wit alone,
    She made the cleverest people quite ashamed,
    And even the good with inward envy groan,
    Finding themselves so very much exceeded
    In their own way by all the things that she did.

    Her memory was a mine: she knew by heart
    All Calderon and greater part of Lope,
    So that if any actor miss'd his part
    She could have served him for the prompter's copy;
    For her Feinagle's were an useless art,
    And he himself obliged to shut up shop—he
    Could never make a memory so fine as
    That which adorn'd the brain of Donna Inez.

    Lovely, isn't it?

  4. Frank Antonson's Avatar
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    #15

    Re: Anglo-Saxon vs Latinate vocabulary

    Well, I will have to take more time read your whole replies, but I will immediately admit that I should not have said "German" but rather "Germanic", in which case Old Norse would have fallen under the same umbrella -- heart and soul of English. (I believe I now have a mixed metaphor.)

    I guess I just don't appreciate the subtleties offered to English by the Romance languages.

    It was when I first studied modern German, after having studied French and Latin, that I was so struck by the Germanic core of English.

    I accept that my feeling is a prejudice. I have often told kids that I would rather die for freedom than for liberty.

  5. konungursvia's Avatar
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    #16

    Re: Anglo-Saxon vs Latinate vocabulary

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Antonson View Post
    Well, I will have to take more time read your whole replies, but I will immediately admit that I should not have said "German" but rather "Germanic", in which case Old Norse would have fallen under the same umbrella -- heart and soul of English. (I believe I now have a mixed metaphor.)

    I guess I just don't appreciate the subtleties offered to English by the Romance languages.

    It was when I first studied modern German, after having studied French and Latin, that I was so struck by the Germanic core of English.

    I accept that my feeling is a prejudice. I have often told kids that I would rather die for freedom than for liberty.
    Fair enough, and I was in part being provocative. I also find our Anglo-
    Saxon and Germanic heritage absolutely lovely (our mother) but also cherish our Latin and French roots (a sort of genius stepfather). Loving them together, in my view, gives the greatest appreciation of what English really is.

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    #17

    Re: Anglo-Saxon vs Latinate vocabulary

    Or maybe mothers and stepfathers.

  6. Frank Antonson's Avatar
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    #18

    Re: Anglo-Saxon vs Latinate vocabulary

    Quote Originally Posted by konungursvia View Post
    Fair enough, and I was in part being provocative. I also find our Anglo-
    Saxon and Germanic heritage absolutely lovely (our mother) but also cherish our Latin and French roots (a sort of genius stepfather). Loving them together, in my view, gives the greatest appreciation of what English really is.
    Yes, I cannot deny that. It is just that I think the Germanic component is often under-rated. In my view that Romance language component of English has a sort of "arrogance of power".

    What I also REALLY like are those words that have come to English from obscure languages because of the "Age of Empires" e.g. raccoon, viranda, chocolate, tomato, potato, etc.

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