Bending toward English

I’ve been off track a while, reading some excellent books on English. I switched over from trying to read Zorba the Greek to finishing the Farmakides book, A Manual of Modern Greek, b/c it’s not too long and feeds right into a reader, which then leads into another reader supported by a second grammar book. The grammar is not more Modern Greek but delves into the Purist language (Katharevousa) used up until recently. It and the readers even get us back into Byzantine and Classical Greek, quite a ride for anyone who loves the history of language.

The books on English are eye-openers b/c they reveal the ideological history of how English got to be a “pure” Germanic language tied straight back to the Indo-European tribes. One statement really got me: no scholar who wanted advancement in this field would dare produce research on urban dialects. Rural dialects were thought to represent true Germanic, Anglo-Saxon character, while urban dialects were corrupted and dialect studies ruthlessly rooted out words taken into the rural dialects from urban speech. The sturdy yeoman farmer of the Shire could not speak the contaminated speech of the urban proletariat. Very interesting.

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