Posted by Joseph Knippenberg
This is very nice.
Two cheers for Kate! I, too, love to read outloud; I regularly have my students do so in class, so they can hear the differences between silent reading and thoughtful, measured, emphasized outloud reading. (Good catch, Joe.)
The Anglo-Saxon base of our language is one of the most beautiful "read out-loud" tongues in the history of the word. Yes, I mean it...anyone who has ever heard a portion of Beowulf read in the original Anglo-Saxon cant help but to be moved (you can catch snippets of this on a show called "The Adventure of English, Part I" -- History International Channel). By comparison, modern English and German are mongrel tongues.
Dain: Reading English aloud is especially good, I agree. Although all languages have their own (interesting, e.g., Italian) musical quality, this has very little to do with, for example, whether or not a language is "mongrel": English is (75% of its words are of Latin origin, and almost 15% Greek, and only about 3% Anglo-Saxon) it still has (very oddly) kept its iambic pentameter rhythm (thatis, Anglo-Saxon); and I note that German is not a "mongrel" tongue but is an ursprache, thats one reason Heidegger likes it so.
No, Joe, but I am blushing, right to my roseate fingertips on the keys.
dain, have you heard the Seamus Heaney reading of Beowulf? I suggest his verse translation to students, as hes made such a lovely, and very readable, story of it.
Ive been describing English as a "layered" language. To every English class I teach, I spend a day lecturing on the history of the language, (which becomes a fast-talkers history of the English-speaking people,) as it helps students forgive themselves for their struggles with spelling. Many of them have heard that if they had just grasped phonics, they could spell and even pronounce everything correctly. That is just not so, and the history of our language explains why.
PSW, Of the 75% Latin, how much of that comes to us through the French words we have? Where do you get those statistics? Please, tell me what is good to read about this.
Theyre getting way theoretical on you...It was a beautiful article...I will read it aloud as soon as I can find an auudience.
PWS, I seriously doubt that 75% statistic. Tolkien wrote his entire half-million word trilogy averaging only a single Latin-derivative word per page. The statistic I hear is about 66% is Anglo-Saxon, and many of the "Latin" and "French" words are agglomerations (i.e., theyve been Anglicized). Of course, there are tons of old Saxon words we dont use much anymore (e.g., wold).
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