English is a very curious language that humbles most native speakers whenever they put pen to paper.
ENGLISH AS SHE IS WRIT
For many years I had suspected that medical students were not, necessarily, masters in the use of the English language.
With respect to spelling, the endless variety in the mistakes made is illustrated in the list supplied below.
These mistakes seem to arise from undue reliance on phonetics and plain inattention.Correct spelling As seen on papers Academic Acaeidemic Accessible Accessable, Accesible Achieve Acheive Adequate Adequete Adhered Adherred Administered Administrated Advisable Adviseable Alleviate Allievate Anaphylactoid Anphylactoid Antibodies Antebodies Antibiotics Antebiotics Antiseptic Antisceptic Argument Arguement Aseptic Asseptic, Asetric, Aspetic, Asceptic Assessment Assement Attempt Attemp Attic Attich Auscultation Oscultation
Examination Howlers and English as She is Writ
James M. Mather
Can Med Assoc J. 1963 Apr 6; 88(14): 751–753
The English language is [usually] taught using a combination of parroting and phonetics.
But [ultimately] mastery of the English language can only be achieved by learning parrot fashion because there are no real rules and a vast vocabulary of well over a million words.
“I before E, except after C” is a mnemonic rule of thumb for English spelling.
The rule is very well known; Edward Carney calls it “this supreme, and for many people solitary, spelling rule“… However, the short form quoted above has many common exceptions;
… a new word created every 98 minutes or about 14.7 words per day.
Though GLM’s analysis was the subject of much controversy at the time, the recent Google/Harvard Study of the Current Number of Words in the English Language is 1,022,000.
The Global Language Monitor
More specifically: Learning English is the arcane art of remembering over one million words that are constructed using [something like] 64 linguistic concepts [24 consonants + 18 digraphs + 2 ligatures + 20 vowels] which are then [somehow] shoehorned into a basic character set of just 26 Latin letters.
The modern English alphabet is a Latin alphabet consisting of 26 letters…
Written English uses 18 digraphs, such as ch, sh, th, ph, wh, etc., but they are not considered separate letters of the alphabet.
Some traditions also use two ligatures, æ and œ, or consider the ampersand (&) part of the alphabet.
Most English dialects share the same 24 consonant phonemes.
English has a particularly large number of vowel phonemes, and on top of that the vowels of English differ considerably between dialects.
Roach (2000) lists a total of 20 basic vowels of British English: 12 monophthongs, 5 closing diphthongs, and 3 centring diphthongs.
It is not easy to determine exactly how many vowels there are in English.
American speakers have about sixteen vowels (though some have fewer), and British speakers may have about twenty vowels, though there may be more depending on the analysis adopted.
How Many Vowel Sounds Are There in English? – David Deterding
STETS Language & Communication Review, Vol. 3, No. 1, 2004
Understanding the history of the English language is also an arcane art.
Descending into the bizarre world of modern academic linguistics [which employs a specialised English dialect affectionately known as Unintelligible English] it’s possible to discern a few vague historical markers in the impenetrable academic fog of obscuration, misdirection, misinformation, misunderstanding and [good old fashioned] ignorance.
But students can only begin to penetrate the academic fog surrounding the English language [and other languages] once they learn to filter out the Three Golden Myths.
Three Golden Myths: Gradualism
The primary tenet of academic linguistics is that every linguistic theory [and narrative] must strictly adhere to the Gradualist view of history i.e. Catastrophism is a heresy.
Three Golden Myths: Romance Language
The second tenet of academic linguistics is that the Romance Languages form an independent linguistic branch derived from Latin and it is a heresy to demonstrate the Romance Languages were shoehorned into just 26 Latin letters by conquering clerics.
Three Golden Myths: Indo-European Languages
The third tenet of academic linguistics strictly prohibits academics from directly connecting Sanskrit with European languages. Instead, academics must confine themselves to a vague, network of [fictional] hypothetical languages which can never be evidentially substantiated [by definition].
The Three Golden Myths of academic linguistics are embedded in the following diagram which depicts the flowering of Indo-European languages from a hypothetical Indo-European root language.
Returning to the bizarre world of modern academic linguistics we are told that Modern English descended from Anglo-Saxon [aka Old English].
Modern English descends from Middle English, which in turn descends from Old English.
And that Anglo-Saxon [aka Old English] is a West Germanic language.
Old English is a West Germanic language, developing out of Ingvaeonic (also known as North Sea Germanic) dialects from the 5th century.
But tracing the origins of English fizzles out in 650 AD because “no literary witnesses survive”.
Prehistoric Old English (c. 450 to 650); for this period, Old English is mostly a reconstructed language as no literary witnesses survive (with the exception of limited epigraphic evidence).
Clearly, modern mainstream linguists are happy pottering about in their own fantastic Anglo-Saxon branch line to nowhere because there is no boundary between fact and fiction.
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien CBE, FRSL (3 January 1892 – 2 September 1973), known professionally as J. R. R. Tolkien, was an English writer, poet, philologist, and university professor who is best known as the author of the classic high-fantasy works The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion.
He served as the Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon and Fellow of Pembroke College, Oxford, from 1925 to 1945 and Merton Professor of English Language and Literature and Fellow of Merton College, Oxford from 1945 to 1959.
However, 200 years ago, Anglo-Saxon wasn’t an academic dead-end for deadbeats.
Between 1799 and 1805 Sharon Turner’s History of the Anglo-Saxons provided some very vibrant insights into the Anglo-Saxon heritage of the English language.
Sharon Turner (24 September 1768 – 13 February 1847) was an English historian.
Turner’s History of the Anglo-Saxons appeared in four volumes between 1799 and 1805.
Britain at the time of original publication was involved in wars against France and the idea of the Norman yoke (Anglo-Saxon liberty versus Norman despotism) had been around since the seventeenth century. Turner demonstrated Anglo-Saxon liberty “in the shape of a good constitution, temperate kingship, the witenagemot, and general principles of freedom”.
The History had a profound impact on historiography for the succeeding fifty years.
Firstly, Turner noticed that “a large portion” of Anglo-Saxon “seems to have been made up from other ancient languages”.
On the Originality of the Anglo-Saxon Language.
It is difficult to ascertain the originality of the Saxon language ; because, however rude the people who used it may have appeared to us, it is a fact that their language comes to us in a very cultivated shape.
Its cultivation is not only proved by its copiousness – by its numerous synonymes – by the declension of its nouns — the conjugation of its verbs – its abbreviated verbs, or conjunctions, adverbs, and prepositions, and its epithets or adjectives ; but also by its great number of compound words applying to every shade of meaning.
By the Anglo-Saxon appearing to us in a state so advanced, it is very difficult to ascertain its originality.
It is difficult, when we find words corresponding with those of other languages, to distinguish those which it originally had, like the terms of other tongues, and those which it had imported.
The conjugation of its substantive verb, however, proves that it is by no means in its state of original purity ; for instead of this being one verb, with inflections of itself throughout its tenses, it is composed of the fragments of no fewer than five substantive verbs, the primitive terms of which appear in other languages.
The fragments of these five words are huddled together in the Anglo-Saxon, and thus make up its usual conjugations.
When we consider these facts, and the many Anglo-Saxon nouns which can be traced into other languages, it cannot be affirmed that the Anglo- Saxon exhibits to us an original language.
It is an ancient language, and has preserved much of the primitive form ; but a large portion of it seems to have been made up from other ancient languages.
History of the Anglo-Saxons – Volume II – Sharon Turner – 1840
Secondly, Turner recognised Anglo-Saxon isn’t “a very rude and barren tongue”
On the Copiousness of the Saxon Language.
This language has been thought to be a very rude and barren tongue, incapable of expressing any thing but the most simple and barbarous ideas.
The truth, however, is, that it is a very copious language, and is capable of expressing any subject of human thought.
They had a great number of words for a ship; and to express the Supreme, they used more words and phrases than I can recollect to have seen in any other language.
History of the Anglo-Saxons – Volume II – Sharon Turner – 1840
Thirdly, Turner broke the primary Gradualist tenet by observing “no narrated phenomenon of ancient history accounts for the affinities and analogies of words which all languages exhibit”.
On the Affinities and Analogies of the Anglo-Saxon Language.
All languages which I have examined, besides discovering some direct ancestral consanguinity with particular tongues ; as the Saxon with the Gothic, Swedish, Danish, etc., and the Latin with the Greek; display also, in many of their words, a more distant relationship with almost all.
Some word or other may be traced in the vocabularies of other nations and every language bears strong marks, that events have happened to the human race, like those which Moses has recorded in his account of the confusion of tongues, and the dispersion of mankind.
The fragments of an original tongue seem, more or less, to exist in all ; and no narrated phenomenon of ancient history accounts for the affinities and analogies of words which all languages exhibit, so satisfactorily as the abruption of a primitive language into many others, sufficiently different to compel separations of the general population, and yet retaining in all some indications of a common origin.
In such a confusion of mind, memory, and organs, as must have attended such an incident, most of the words and much of the structure of language would be materially altered in the future pronunciation, recollection, and use of the scattered families then existing, and consequentially in the orthography.
But it is probable that many words would descend amid these variations into all the subsequent tongues : not the same words in every one, because various accidents would diversify what each retained ; but every tongue will be found to have several terms which exist with the same meanings, or display related analogies, in other distant and apparently unconnected nations.
History of the Anglo-Saxons – Volume II – Sharon Turner – 1840
Fourthly, Turner broke the second tenet of academic linguistics by demonstrating Anglo-Saxon has strong affinities with Latin and Greek.
I wished to have attempted this with the Anglo-Saxon language; but a defection of health, and adverse occupations, have interfered to prevent me from fully gratifying my own wishes. It may, however, be worth while to preserve a list of those analogies which I have noticed. They deserve our consideration, from the important inferences to which they lead.
Though the affinities of some may be questioned, yet in most they will be found highly probable : the whole are too numerous to have occurred by mere chance.
Where the English is not repeated it is the same as that of the Saxon word.
Fifthly, Turner broke the third tenet of academic linguistics by demonstrating Anglo-Saxon has tangible affinities with Sanskrit.
Overall, Sharon Turner demonstrated [200 years ago] that the [current] rigid hierarchical view of Indo-European languages [glued together with imaginary languages] is a bogus construct.
Click here to view larger image.
Vedic Sanskrit is an Old Indo-Aryan language. It is the spoken ancestor of liturgical Sanskrit, and an early descendant of Proto-Indo-Aryan.
It is closely related to Avestan, the oldest preserved of the Iranian languages.
An Ethno-Cultural Etymological Interconnection? Sounds Incredulous but Real!
Irandokht.com – Davood N. Rahni
These one hundred and sixty-two Persian words, fifty-seven Zend, and forty-three Pehlvi, present to us two hundred and sixty-two words in the three languages that have prevailed in Persia, which have sufficient affinity with as many in the Anglo-Saxon to confirm the deduction of our earliest progenitors from these regions of ancient Asia.
Do the English Originated in Persia? Persian Origins Of Anglo-Saxon Words
Sharon Turner – 1827
Time to dig a little deeper…