I am in Dalyan, Turkey wandering around the ruins of an ancient civilization at Kaunos and visiting a wonderful loggerhead turtle sanctuary. Tonight I got talking to the hotel manager here who is writing a dissertation on early Christianity and he speaks perfect English (tip:go and talk to locals when you’re abroad, there are so many interesting stories out there). I speak no Turkish. Inevitably we started discussing words borrowed from what he called ‘Anatolia’. Words such as ‘sherbet’, ‘Byzantine’, ‘angora’, ‘divan’, ‘turquoise’ and ‘yoghurt’.
What is Anatolia and where does it fit with early languages in the world? (See beautiful map above – it doesn’t even mention Anatolia).
You probably know about the Angles and Saxons; maybe a bit about how the Romans spoke Latin and then left; about how the Norman Invasion brought French and then from around the 1700s on, how colonial expansion brought foreign borrowings and more recently how travel has brought even more borrowings or loan words to English. However none of this covers ‘Anatolia’.
Curiosity piqued, I decided to do some investigation and found this article on the BBC:
So now you know a bit more about the puzzle of how the English language evolved. It’s not linear or chronological, it’s messy, it’s patchy and it’s all about filling in the gaps, so here’s a bit of the gap filled.
I wonder where to next?
PS feel free to post comments and add links to the comments space below, for anything you’ve found interesting in English as an evolving language.
To help you understand what you exam looks like:
Paper 1: Language, individual, society
- Section A Textual variations & Representations
- Older & newer texts
- Representation & how created. Could overlap paper 2 section A (gender, occupation, diff groups – age/status/ethnicity)
- Audience, purpose, mode & genre, affordances and constraints of diff. modes
- All the language levels (methods/frameworks) plus lang. change ones below
- Older/newer text – lexis and sem/orthography/grammar/
- Section B Child lang acq
- Speech, reading, writing
- Stages of writing development
- Early reading/literacy
- Theories surrounding the above
Section A: Language Diversity and Change
- Gender, power, occupation, status, age, stereotypes- (largely revision from last year).
- Ethnicity, regional & national identity
Section B: Language Discourses
- Historical perspective on standardisation.
- Debates around attitudes towards language change, prescriptivism and descriptivism and associated theory e.g Jean Aitcheson damp spoon, crumbling castle and infectious disease.
- Q 3 evaluating effectiveness of two arguments in two texts-comparative ie deconstruct how a text puts its arguments together and give a critique.
- Q 4 Opinion piece- journalist/editorial style (writing task)
Have an opinion about English? If you do, or don’t or simply want to get more informed here is a great place to start:
Talking to my brother last week about this and he explained that some people think it has something to do with Welsh influence on English grammar – not a factor we normally consider. For instance, why do we say ‘I don’t like pizza’ rather than ‘I like not pizza’?
Read this for a detailed explanation: